Rio to takeover Riversdale for $3.9b

MINERALS giant Rio Tinto will bolster its coking coal production profile and establish itself in the burgeoning coal province of Mozambique with the $A3.9 billion takeover of Riversdale.
Rio to takeover Riversdale for $3.9b Rio to takeover Riversdale for $3.9b Rio to takeover Riversdale for $3.9b Rio to takeover Riversdale for $3.9b Rio to takeover Riversdale for $3.9b

Image courtesy of Riversdale Mining.

Lou Caruana

ASX-listed Riversdale, which has been in a trading halt for the last two days as reports surfaced that Rio Tinto would be offering $16 per share for the company, today resolved one outstanding condition in the sale.

A bid implementation agreement between Rio Tinto and Riversdale is subject to approval by Riversdale shareholders.

Riversdale executive chairman Michael O’Keeffe said: “The Rio Tinto offer is transformational for Riversdale, and a strong endorsement of the successful steps which Riversdale has taken over recent years.

"We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve here at Riversdale in relation to our Mozambique projects since we acquired the tenements some four years ago.

“The offer price represents a substantial premium to Riversdale’s undisturbed share price, reflecting

Riversdale’s identification and development of quality tier one assets.”

Rio Tinto is shuffling its portfolio of coal assets to establish a dominant presence in new provinces such as Mozambique, Colombia and Mongolia.

Just days after rumours emerged that Drummond Coal was considering selling a stake in its Colombian operations, Rio Tinto also reportedly submitted bids to purchase the Alabama-based producer’s South American mines.

UK newspaper Daily Mail quoted anonymous sources familiar with the deal as saying the companies submitted £5 billion ($US7.8 billion) bids prior to a deadline earlier this month, set by Drummond adviser Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for assets including a mine, railroad and port facilities.

Rio Tinto did not provide public comment to media outlets, and Drummond spokespeople could not be located to make comment to ILN by press time.

The Mail noted that Brazil-based Vale and US-headquartered Peabody Energy might also be interested in the assets, though the sources did not know if bids had been submitted in the second round.

Drummond chief executive Garry Drummond turned down three previous rounds of takeover discussions because the price point was unsatisfactory, according to reports.

Bloomberg reported last week that Drummond Coal has been considering a minority stake sale in its South American coal mines as an alternative to selling the entire unit to another operator.

In total, Colombia has an estimated 24 billion tonnes of proven and potential coal reserves.

Rio Tinto announced today it has completed a 100% divestment of its equity holdings in coal exploration group Cloud Peak Energy Inc through a fully exercised over allotment in connection with a recently announced secondary offering.

Gross proceeds from the over allotment were $US74.1 million, bringing the total gross proceeds from the secondary offering to $573.3 million.

In November, Coal of Africa entered into a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the acquisition of the Chapudi Coal Project in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, from joint venture companies held by Rio Tinto and Kwezi Mining.

These coal assets comprised both thermal and coking coal development projects.

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