Macarthur Continues To Rebuff Peabody

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Macarthur Coal, the Australian company that is the world's largest producer of pulverized coal for steelmakers, continues to frown upon a $5.2 billion takeover offer from Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal, calling the bid ''opportunistic'' amid volatile global equity prices and an unclear regulatory outlook in Australia.

Missouri-based Peabody (BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, and ArcelorMittal (MT), the world's largest steel producer, have formed a joint venture of which Peabody will own 60% to bid for Macarthur.

The U.S. company tried to acquire Macarthur in a solo bid last year for $3.4 billion, but was rejected. ArcelorMittal is Macarthur's second-largest shareholder with a 24% stake in the company, but even that has not made negotiating with the Australian firm any easier this time around for Peabody.

Macarthur management has urged shareholders to take no action on the Peabody/ArcelorMittal offer and has reminded investors it continues to hold talks with other potential suitors. The company said the same thing several weeks ago and no specific companies have been identified nor has any offer for Macarthur other than Peabody's has been made public.