Baosteel-Aurizon controls Aquila as Tony Poli quits

China’s Baosteel and Australian rail freight operator Aurizon Operations have gained control over Aquila Resources, after major shareholder and executive chairman Tony Poli resigned.

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Poli has accepted the offer for his entire 28.92% relevant interest in Australian miner Aquila’s shares, pushing up the bidders’ stake to 52.69%, according to a joint announcement by Baosteel and Aurizon on Thursday July 3.

Two other Aquilla directors, Gordon Galt and Denise Goldsworthy, have also resigned.

The Aquila board has resolved to appoint three directors from Baosteel and one from Aurizon.

“Baosteel-Aurizon has entered into a takeover implementation agreement with Aquila, to facilitate an orderly transition of the control and management of the company,” Aquila said in a statement on the same day.

Baosteel and Aurizon proposed to take over Aquila in early May for A$1.42 billion ($1.34 billion) or at a per share price of A$3.40 ($3.22). The consortium beat a rival takeover proposal at per share prices of A$3.75 ($3.55) by Australia’s mining services provider Mineral Resources in mid June.

Aquila owns a 50% interest in the West Pilbara Iron Ore Project, which has a proposed mining rate of 30 million tpy, and requires development of port and rail infrastructure.

Aquila also has a 50% interest in the Eagle Downs Hard Coking Coal Project in Queensland's Bowen Basin region, with 254 million tonnes of proven and probable run-of-mine coal.

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