Tata Steel said to be bidding for Australian coal miner New Hope

India's largest business group is considering making a bid for New Hope Corp. (ASX:NHC) in what could be the largest coal deal since Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) bought Massey Energy in January for around $7 billion.

According to Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the plan, the acquisition would involve a joint bid between Tata Steel and Tata Power for Queensland-based New Hope which is valued at $A4.9 billion.

Indian steelmakers and power plants are struggling to secure coal to run their plants in the face of supply shortages.

The Times of India reported in mid-October that rain has disrupted operations at several coal mines in India, and several power plants are close to shutting down due to lack of supply:

The country is staring at a blackout situation as nearly all thermal power generation units are operating on a fast-depleting supply of coal that can run out any moment.