Rio Tinto declares Riversdale bid unconditional

City A.M. Reporter
Rio Tinto is to go ahead with its A$3.9bn (£2.5bn) takeover offer for Riversdale Mining even if it ends up with a minority stake in the Africa-focused coal miner.

The offer, announced in December, was originally conditional on at least 50 per cent acceptances, but so far Rio Tinto has secured only about 41 per cent.

If it fails to reach the new threshold, Rio Tinto will pay Riversdale shareholders only A$16 a share.

Rio Tinto is in talks with CSN to secure a majority stake in Riversdale in a last-ditch bid to save its takeover offer, its third major deal attempt since a badly timed $40bn takeover of Alcan in 2007.

Rio has targeted Riversdale for a takeover because of its hard coking coal projects in Mozambique, which could eventually supply as much as one-tenth of the global market for the key steel-making ingredient.

Rio Tinto said on Tuesday it was in talks with one of Riversdale's two major shareholders – Tata Steel and CSN – without revealing which one.

Rio Tinto's lawyer said in a letter released to the Australian stock exchange that Rio "genuinely believes that an outcome of those discussions is likely to emerge during the course of this morning".

The letter was released by Riversdale.