Rio Tinto charms Riversdale investors with £2.4bn offer

Marion Dakers
RIO TINTO made a final bid to woo coal miner Riversdale’s institutional investors yesterday by sweetening its takeover offer to A$3.9bn (£2.4bn).

Rio warned yesterday that it will not raise its offer price above the new A$16.50 a share level, and has given shareholders another two weeks, until 1 April, to accept.

Riversdale chief executive Steve Mallyon said yesterday that the investor mood was turning in favour of Rio’s bid. “I can say that from the institutional calls that I’ve made in the last few hours, that there’s some growing support for Rio Tinto,” he said.

Rio said its improved offer price will only apply if more than 50 per cent of investors agree by 23 March. At the start of this week, Rio Tinto said it had acceptances from 17.9 per cent of Riversdale’s shares.

“The market’s clearly a bit sceptical that it will get across the line,” said Peter Chilton, an analyst at Constellation Capital Management, which owns shares in Rio Tinto.

Riversdale’s Australia-listed shares closed up 3.2 per cent at A$15.61.

Rio, which has pursued the Africa-focused miner since December, fell 3.8 per cent, in line with other London-listed mining firms.