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peabodySYDNEY: The world's largest private coal miner, Peabody Energy, said its Aus$4.73 billion takeover of Australia's Macarthur Coal would go ahead despite the withdrawal of European partner ArcelorMittal.

Peabody said it would become the "sole acquirer of Macarthur" in a statement seen here Thursday after Arcelor announced it would sell its 40 percent interest in the firms' joint venture.

While Peabody had expected a "positive" partnership with Arcelor, chairman Greg Boyce said the US firm had "always preferred a larger ownership".

"We partnered with ArcelorMittal to increase the likelihood of achieving control of Macarthur, which has now occurred," Boyce said of the consortium securing a majority stake on Tuesday.

"ArcelorMittal's decision accelerates our ability to realise synergies, integrate the operations and benefit from results."

Peabody said it would finance the takeover with a US$1 billion term loan, adding that it "has good access to the bank and debt markets."

"ArcelorMittal must continue to fund its share of PEAMCoal obligations for up to 90 days, which will cover all takeover acceptances," the company added.

Macarthur is the world's largest miner of pulverised coking coal, which is used as a low-cost input in steelmaking.

ArcelorMittal and Peabody bid for the Australian firm in July after Peabody made an unsuccessful bid to purchase the firm on its own in March 2010.

The two companies had originally offered to pay Aus$15 a share of Macarthur but raised it to Aus$16.

Chinese state-owned investment group Citic, which held a 25.2 stake in Macarthur, had agreed to accept the offer.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011

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