From: Reuters
Published April 9, 2008 02:43 AM

Baosteel source says unaware of move on BHP stake

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A source close to top management at China's Baosteel Group said on Wednesday he was not aware of any move to buy a stake in global miner BHP Billiton <BHP.AX><BLT.L>.

"If Baosteel has any plan (to do this) then I should be informed, but I haven't been," the source told Reuters.

On Tuesday, BHP's London-listed shares jumped 4.6 percent on market talk that Baosteel, China's biggest steelmaker, may buy a BHP stake. BHP's Sydney shares rose 3.7 percent on Wednesday.

The Australian newspaper quoted unnamed sources in Beijing as saying China was "in the early stages of planning to snare a bigger chunk of BHP than the 9 per cent stake in rival Rio Tinto it bought with U.S.-based Alcoa for $15 billion in a stock market raid in February."

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Baosteel has not commented on the story. A Baosteel official told Reuters that media questions had been forwarded to top management but there was no timetable for issuing a clarifying statement.

Last year, Baosteel denied a Chinese newspaper story that quoted its chairman Xu Lejiang as saying it was considering a $200 billion bid for Rio, but not before the report had unleashed a flurry of speculation about such a deal.

(Reporting by Alfred Cang; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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