Record resources deals rescue a dim year for Australian bankers

13th December 2023

By: Bloomberg


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Energy and mining deals have dominated Australia’s dealmaking scene like never before this year.

About $A111.3-billion of energy and mining deals have been announced in Australia year-to-date, accounting for almost half of all transactions in the country, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. That’s the largest share on record going back to 1998.

The ratio could go even higher as Woodside Energy Group and Santos have started initial talks for a tie-up that could create an A$80-billion company with gas and oil asses spanning from Alaska to Australia. Excluding energy and mining deals, Australia is on track for the slowest year in dealmaking since 2020.

“Deal activity in mining and energy is at the highest level I have seen in at least the last decade,” said Paul Early, co-head of energy, resources and sustainability at investment bank Barrenjoey Markets. “The combination of the energy transition igniting investment and a lack of quality projects in tier-one jurisdictions has led to a scramble of investors and strategics looking to secure assets.”

The surge in energy and mining deal rides upon a frenzy for metals that are key to the energy transition such as copper and lithium. Consolidation has also played a central role with gold giant Newmont securing a A$28.8-billion deal this year to buy Australian rival Newcrest Mining, the gold mining sector’s largest transaction to date.

The total might well have been even higher this year. An A$6.6-billion takeover offer for lithium miner Liontown Resources by US producer Albemarle was scuttled by mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, who built a blocking stake. Brookfield Asset Management's A$19-billion pursuit of Origin Energy was rejected by shareholders this month.

“Australia is clearly attractive as a stable environment,” Early said. “We are fortunate to be sitting on a range of resources that are critical to the electrification and decarbonization of the economy.”

Edited by Bloomberg


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