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Baosteel to buy 15% stake in Aquila
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Baosteel Group, China's largest steel maker, said Friday it has agreed to pay 285.6 million Australian dollars (US$240.7 million) for a 15-percent stake in Australian miner Aquila Resources.

Baosteel will buy up to 43.95 million shares in Aquila at 6.5 Australian dollars a share.

The deal, which will make Baosteel the second-biggest shareholder in Aquila, is still to get approval from Australian and Chinese regulators.

The company executives valued the growth potential of Aquila's assets in the deal that is another major step in its overseas expansion, said a statement on Baosteel's website.

Baosteel established a joint venture with iron ore giant Rio Tinto in 2001 and Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) in 2002 to secure iron ore imports.

In a press release, Aquila said the deal was "an important transaction in Baosteel's strategy to secure long-term supply of critical steel raw materials."

The strategic cooperation will "fast-track the development of Aquila's key steel raw materials projects including iron ore, coal, and manganese," said the statement.

Baosteel would possibly make further direct investment into a number of its projects and help it get low-cost financing from China for most of its major projects, including the strategic West Pilbara Iron Ore Project, said the Aquila statement.

It added that the state-owned Chinese steel mill had agreed not to hold more than 19.99 percent of Aquila before August 2010.

Shares in Aquila surged 9.16 percent, or 60 Australian cents, to 7.15 Australian dollars Friday.

(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2009)

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