Tonight's the night
The future of Rio Tinto’s Australian thermal coal business to be known soon
Wednesday 28 June 2017
London based Rio Tinto shareholders have voted overnight in favour of selling their NSW thermal coal business Coal and Allied for $2.69 billion to Chinese-backed Yancoal.
Australian shareholders will vote today, meaning the fate of the company is likely to be known by the weekend.
The latest bid by Yancoal follows their first offer of $2.45 billion in January which was subsequently gazumped by Glencore who offered $2.55 billion earlier this month.
Both Yancoal and Glencore have a considerable presence in Central Queensland, with Yancoal operating the Yarrabee and Middlemount mines, and Glencore the Collinsville, Newlands, Oaky Creek and Rolleston mines.
At stake is not only the control of a significant thermal coal business but influence in the global trade of thermal coal. Currently, Glencore is the largest seaborne exporter of coal, while China is the biggest thermal coal consumer.
If Glencore is successful in getting the Coal and Allied business it will strengthen their position, however for China, owning Coal and Allied will allow them significant leverage over export thermal coal prices.
Obviously, it’s all good news for Rio Tinto who after the sale will just have their Central Queensland metallurgical coal mines, Hail Creek and Kestrel.
Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said we should know by Friday who has been the winning bidder.
“The revised offer from Yancoal of $2.69 billion offers compelling value to our shareholders for our Australian thermal coal assets,” he said.
“The board has considered both of the latest offers and is recommending Yancoal’s improved offer to its shareholders based on greater transaction certainty and higher net present value.
“Therefore, it is in the best interests of shareholders to put the improved transaction with Yancoal to a vote of shareholders on the current timetable [29th June UK time]