Fortescue – Atlas deal on track

In what could be a win-win outcome for both companies, junior iron ore miner Atlas Iron Limited (ASX: AGO) could be set to utilise Fortescue Metals Group’s (ASX: FMG) railway line and infrastructure.

Atlas needs a railway to connect its iron ore mines in East Pilbara to Port Hedland, in conjunction with Brockman Mining (ASX: BCK). The company has been looking at building its own railway and has implemented a feasibility study with rail operator Aurizon Holdings (ASX: AZJ) – ex QR National.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Fortescue is keen to maximise the sale price for a 40% plus stake in its rail and port infrastructure. The company is reportedly targeting proceeds of between $3 to $4 billion from the sale to pay down debt. In return for the stake, the winner will receive an annuity, rather than run the infrastructure themselves, which will likely be based on freight carried.

By signing up Atlas as a customer for its rail and port assets, a potential 40 million tonnes of additional iron ore could be added to Fortescue’s existing rail, boosting the annuity and therefore the sale price higher. Atlas, in turn, could face costs of $3 billion to build its own railway and infrastructure, plus an additional $2 billion for a new export terminal at South West Creek. An option to use Fortescue’s rail line would be much cheaper.

There’s also the fact a new rail line from the Pilbara to the coast would add to existing railways run by Fortescue, BHP Billiton, Rio and another planned by Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting to transport ore from the giant Roy Hill iron ore mine. Adding another railway that might be underutilised doesn’t make much economic sense.

Foolish takeaway

With benefits of sharing the existing railway and infrastructure apparent for both parties, it seems only a matter of time before Atlas and Fortescue come together.

Limited oil supply and growing demand mean oil prices are likely to rise over time. Position yourself to profit from this trend — and get 3 more investment ideas right now! — with The Motley Fool’s FREE research report, “3 Oil Stocks to Send Your Portfolio Gushing Higher”.

More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better.  Click here now  for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in BHP.

Top 3 ASX Blue Chips To Buy For 2019

For many, blue chip stocks mean stability, profitability and regular dividends, often fully franked…

But knowing which blue chips to buy, and when, can be fraught with danger.

The Motley Fool’s in-house analyst team has poured over thousands of hours worth of proprietary research to bring you the names of The Motley Fool’s Top 3 Blue Chip Stocks for 2019.

Each one pays a fully franked dividend. The names of these Top 3 ASX Blue Chips are included in a specially prepared FREE report. But you will have to hurry. Depending on demand – and how quickly the share prices of these companies moves – we may be forced to remove this report.

See the 3 blue chip stocks

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.