Rio Tinto raises stake in Riversdale to 72%

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Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto on Wednesday said it had boosted its controlling stake in Mozambique-focused coal miner Riversdale to more than 72 percent and extended its takeover offer.

Rio said Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) had agreed to sell its entire 19.35 percent holding in Riversdale.

"Rio Tinto has now obtained an interest in more than 72 percent of all the shares in Riversdale," Rio said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

It said it had also extended its takeover offer by nine days to April 29, "unless extended further".

CSN moved a number of times to boost its holding in Riversdale after Rio's offer, fuelling speculation of a stalemate over the Australian miner's lucrative Afican steelmaking coal.

But Rio secured a controlling stake in Riversdale earlier this month, one day after Riversdale's management recommended that shareholders accept the mining giant's near $4.0-billion takeover.

In a letter to shareholders accompanying the share market statement Rio urged acceptance of the offer "as soon as possible".

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.

© 2011 AFP

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