Copper miner PanAust tops JP Morgan's Australia M&A picks

Wed Jan 9, 2013 9:39pm EST
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MELBOURNE Jan 10 (Reuters) - Copper and gold miner PanAust Ltd is Australia's top contender to be taken over in 2013 in another year likely to be dominated by acquisitions of resource companies, according to an annual report from JP Morgan's specialist sales desk.

Royal Dutch Shell could bid for oil and gas producer Santos Ltd or Senex Energy Ltd this year, gold and nickel miners are likely to see consolidation, and Echo Entertainment Group will remain a target of Crown Ltd, the JP Morgan sales desk team predicted.

Since starting its "Specialist Sales Top Takeovers List" three years ago, JP Morgan has successfully picked 20 Australian takeover stocks, it said.

"Our no. 1 pick for 2013 will be PanAust. Copper consolidation continues globally, and PanAust is one of the largest listed players left," JP Morgan said in the report, which was obtained by Reuters.

"It will only be a matter of time before it gets acquired," the report said.

The team advised buying PanAust, which is expected to produce 68,000 tonnes of copper this year and has projects in Laos, Thailand and Chile, and offsetting that with a short position in potential acquirer Oz Minerals Ltd.

Another possible 2013 play is a takeover of Santos and/or Senex by Shell, according to the report.

"Acquiring Santos makes strategic sense for Shell. This should lead to a four train LNG (liquefied natural gas) project which is more in line with the scale that Shell would like for a high cost LNG project," the report said.

Buru Energy, an emerging oil and shale gas play with assets in the Canning Basin in Western Australia, could be eyed by North West Shelf joint venture partners Woodside Petroleum, BHP Billiton, BP Plc, Shell and Chevron.   Continued...