Bloomberg News

Aston to Sell A$370 Million Coal Project Stake to J-Power

October 03, 2011

(Updates with closing share price in sixth paragraph.)

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Aston Resources Ltd., an Australian coking coal developer, agreed to sell a 10 percent stake in its Maules Creek coal project for A$370 million ($357 million) to Japan’s Electric Power Development Co. Ltd.

Once the transaction is completed, Aston “would have the majority of the funds required to develop the project,” Chief Executive Officer Todd Hannigan of Brisbane-based Aston said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.

Aston sold a 15 percent stake in the mine, which will produce a majority of steelmaking coal, to Japan’s Itochu Corp. for A$345 million in December, valuing the project at the time at A$2.3 billion. The agreement with Electric Power Development, also known as J-Power, values Maules Creek at A$3.7 billion, reflecting higher coal prices following flooding this year in Australia and a refocus on coal as a source of energy in Japan following the March 11 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Output from the mine, that may cost A$651 million, will start in mid-2013, the company said today in a separate presentation.

The stake sale includes a long-term thermal coal offtake agreement with J-Power, subject to agreement by Itochu, Aston said in the statement. Itochu also has a right to match the terms of the asset sale agreement, Aston said.

Aston fell 1 percent to A$9.96 at the 4:10 p.m. close of Sydney trading, compared with a 2.8 percent drop in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.

--Editors: Rebecca Keenan, Baldave Singh

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at

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