Rio Tinto eyes all Riversdale stock after Tata deal

17th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Friday said it would buy up the remaining shares in Riversdale Mining, after acquiring Tata Steel's stake in the Africa-focussed company.

Rio said that as of early Friday, it had purchased 99.74 percent of all Riversdale shares, including the 26.28 percent stake of India's Tata, and would compulsorily acquire the remaining stock.

The Indian company said Thursday it would sell its Riversdale assets for about Aus$1.06 billion (US$1.1 billion).

"The Riversdale acquisition reinforces our strategy of investing in and operating long-life, cost-competitive mines and businesses with significant growth potential," said Rio's energy chief executive Doug Ritchie.

He said Rio had already started to integrate its operating and technical systems into Riversdale's African operations, which stand to benefit from strong Asian demand.

"We are determined to develop Riversdale's assets in a sustainable, mutually beneficial manner for the people of Mozambique," he said.

Rio assumed control of the Australian coal company's board in April, announcing it intended to de-list the miner once its takeover offer expires later Friday. The offer values Riversdale at close to US$4 billion.

Riversdale has three coal mining projects in Africa, including massive operations in Mozambique which it sees as the "world's new source of premium hard coking coals" by 2025 for rapidly developing China, India and Brazil.

Rio launched its takeover bid for Riversdale in December but was forced to raise its offer and repeatedly extend the deadline because shareholders were slow to it take up.

Earlier this year, Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) agreed to sell its entire 19.35 percent holding in Riversdale to Rio.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --

© 2011 AFP

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