Ranking the 10 biggest foreign investors in OZ


January 26, 2017

As you'll see below, our foreign ownership lists have suddenly become a lot more comprehensive, such that we can now attempt to rank the biggest foreign investors in Australia. Drum roll...and here's the first crack at listing and valuing the big ten:

1. Rio Tinto: Has 16 different entries on our 50 foreign-owned major resource projects list and given the coal and iron ore boom, plus the BHP-Billiton takeover bid, the total value in Australia is thought to now exceed $100 million.

2. Xstrata: Has 12 of our big foreign 50 and the MIM assets alone are now thought to be worth about $40 billion. Add on the likes of Jubilee and Resource Pacific and the Swiss giant is pushing $50 billion in assets Down Under.

3. Singapore Government: owns more Australian business assets than our own government with the $14 billion Optus play and about $12 billion spent on power utilities being the biggest chunks in an overall portfolio that now exceeds $30 billion.

4. Chinese Government: buying 9% of Rio Tinto for $16 billion equates to putting about $9 billion into Australian assets. China Iron & Steel also owns 40% of the Channar iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Shanghai Boasteel Steel has 46% of Rio Tinto's Eastern Range iron ore mine, CNOOC has 25% of the more recently developed LNG component of the North West Shelf, CITIC has 20% of Macarthur Coal and 22.5% of the Portland Aluminium smelter and a raft of smaller plays such as iron ore hopefuls Mt Gibson, Mid West and Gindalbie suggest a total investment worrth more than $20 billion.

5. Mitsui: the Japanese trading house has a range of interests including 49% of the big Dawson Central (formerly Moura) coal mine in Queensland which does 10mtpa, 20% of Krestel (Arco's former Gordonstone coal mine), 16% of Liddell in the Hunter Valley, 33% of the huge Mesa J iron-ore mine in the Pilbara, 5% of BHP's legendary Mt Newman iron ore mine, 7% of BHP's Yandi Pilbara mine, 33% of the Rio-operated West Angelas iron ore mine and 8.38% of the North West Shelf. Given the mooted 65% coal and iron ore price rises, this lot would now be worth about $20 billion.

6. Shell: the 37% stake in Woodside, a direct 16.67% stake in the North West Shelf, 25% of Gorgon and the refining business together suggest it has assets worth about $20 billion in Australia.

7. Anglo American: bought very well taking on Shell's coal assets which when combined with other mines produce a portfolio worth at least $15 billion.

8. Mitsubishi Corp: Japan's biggest trading house has a 50% stake in seven lucrative central Queensland mines run by BHP, plus 8.38% of the North West Shelf which is together worth more than $10 billion.

9. Hutchison/CKI: Li Ka-shing's sprawling empire has spent at least $10 billion on businesses such as 3 mobile phones, various power utilities and port operations.

10. Exxon-Mobil: 50% stake in Bass Strait is in decline but also has 25% of Gorgon and the downstream petroleum business, suggesting a total value of more than $10 billion.