Steel News

South Korean Consortium Prevails in Bidding on Australian Steel, Iron Ore Producer

6/16/2017 - A consortium led by a South Korean private equity firm has been declared the preferred bidder for Australian iron ore miner and steelmaker Arrium, the company’s financial administrator has announced. 

“After a 14-month administration and a nine-month sale process, we are now an important step closer to providing certainty to employees, creditors, suppliers, customers and the Whyalla community,” said KordaMentha partner Mark Mentha. 

Arrium, which own’s Australia’s Whyalla steel works, collapsed last year under the weight of AU$4 billion in debt. The consortium bidding on Arrium is made up of South Korea’s Newlake Alliance Management, Korean investment firm JB Asset Management and steelmaker POSCO.   

According to the (London) Financial Times, the consortium plans to invest up to AU$1 billion in the Whyalla steelworks, incorporating POSCO’s Finex technology. 

“Having seen first-hand the impressive technology and scale of the POSCO business, it is exciting to be working with a company of such high regard with a proven track record that can truly transform the Whyalla operations,” said Tom Koutsantonis, treasurer of the Australian state of South Australia.  

The consortium was one of two entities looking to acquire the business. The other was Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House Group, which has been buying up distressed assets the U.K.  

Gupta told The (London) Telegraph that he was “surprised and disappointed” that his group was not named the preferred bidder.

“We remain willing to step in again should the opportunity arise and pulled together a fantastic team to make a compelling and unconditional proposal which provided certainty of execution and guaranteed a de-risked sustainable future for a very challenging business,” he said.