S.Korean consortium still interested in buying Arrium – Newlake source: Reuters

A South Korean consortium backed by steelmaker POSCO is still interested in buying Australian steel company Arrium Ltd, an official at Newlake Alliance, which leads the consortium told Reuters on Wednesday.

His comments came after rival British consortium GFG Alliance said on Wednesday that it had signed a binding agreement to acquire the deeply indebted steel company.

“We are very surprised by and disappointed with the decision,” the source with direct knowledge of the matter said, adding that his group was told of the decision only this morning.

“We made a superior proposal with competitive bid price and sustainable long-term post-acquisition plans. We are not sure whether the seller’s decision fully reflects the best interests of all involved stakeholders, including the employees and regional economies,” he said.

The Seoul-based private equity syndicate led by Newlake Alliance and JB Asset Management was chosen on June 15 as the preferred bidder, only to have GFG return with a revised offer.

He declined to comment on whether it would sweeten its bid or take legal action against Wednesday’s decision.