(Repeats story published late Sunday; no change to text)
LONDON, April 27 Mining veteran and former
Xstrata head Mick Davis has offered to buy BHP Billiton's
thermal coal division, which could form the core of his
X2 Resources, the Sunday Times said.
Davis, who led Xstrata until its merger with Glencore
last year, had already been named by Australian media
as a contender for BHP's Nickel West and some other businesses.
BHP and X2 Resources declined to comment to Reuters on the
latest newspaper report on Sunday.
X2 Resources, which operates a mid-sized diversified mining
and metals company, has up to $3.75 billion at its disposal to
further plans to become a new mining conglomerate. Its backers
comprise private equity group TPG Capital, commodities trader
Noble Group and three unnamed sovereign wealth and
pension fund investors.
The Sunday Times said Davis had recently appointed JPMorgan
to provide up to $8 billion in debt to top up his new
company's war chest.
In addition to offering to buy the thermal coal business -
which has struggled in the face of falling coal prices - and
weighing an offer for nickel, Davis is also thought to be
considering sweeping up BHP's aluminium and manganese
operations, the paper added.
Davis knows BHP Billiton well, having been finance director
before it merged with BHP in 2001. The assets in question were
the core of his old company, though they account for only a
small part of BHP's overall operations.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler and Silvia Antonioli; Editing by