Rio Tinto rebuffed in plan to take control of Mongolian copper project


Rio Tinto’s plan to take direct possession of a large copper mine in Mongolia has suffered a set again after its $2.7bn buyout proposal was rejected.

Turquoise Hill Resources mentioned a particular committee had “terminated” its overview of Rio’s C$34 ($26) per share money provide, saying it didn’t “fully and fairly reflect” the worth of its holding in Oyu Tolgoi.

“A transaction at the price proposed by Rio Tinto would not fairly compensate minority shareholders for the fundamental, long-term value of the company’s interest in Oyu Tolgoi,” mentioned Maryse Saint-Laurent, chair of the particular committee.

Located in the Gobi desert, Oyu Tolgoi is one of the world’s greatest copper deposits. Once an underground growth project is accomplished, it is going to be one of the world’s greatest copper mines, with manufacturing in its early years of about 500,000 tonnes per yr, simply as demand for the metallic will increase as a result of of the power transition.

It is one of a number of tasks that Rio chief govt Jakob Stausholm is attempting to type out as he seems to place the group for the shift to a low-carbon economic system. At the second, the corporate derives most of its money producing steelmaking ingredient iron ore.

Although Rio operates Oyu Tolgoi and is overseeing the underground growth project, it doesn’t have a direct stake in Oyu Tolgoi. Instead, it holds a 51 per cent stake in Toronto-listed Turquoise Hill, which in turns owns 66 per cent of Oyu Tolgoi. The relaxation is owned by the federal government of Mongolia.

Turquoise Hill mentioned on Monday that engagement between the events had “not resulted in a consensus on value and price or in any improved proposal from Rio Tinto”.

The proposed Rio buyout has already been opposed by Pentwater Capital, the largest unbiased shareholder in Turquoise Hill. It says the provide is simply too low.

Shares in Turquoise Hill fell practically 9 per cent to C$30.53 on Monday.

Rio launched its provide for Turquoise Hill in March simply because the copper value hit a report excessive of above $10,600 a tonne. Turquoise Hill responded by establishing a particular committee of unbiased administrators to overview and think about the Rio proposal.

At the time Bold Baatar, head of Rio’s copper division, mentioned the provide, which was pitched at a 32 per cent premium, would create a “simpler and efficient ownership” construction for Oyu Tolgoi.

The value of copper has since fallen again to about $8,000 a tonne, though many analysts stay bullish on its long-term prospects.

When Rio reported half-year outcomes final month, Stausholm was requested in regards to the buyout provide, which he described as a “full-priced proposal”. He additionally famous copper property had fallen by greater than a 3rd since March.

Saint-Laurent mentioned the committee would now assist Turquoise Hill in its efforts to increase at the very least $650mn in new equity by the year-end to shore up its funds and full growth of the underground mine, the place first manufacturing is anticipated in the primary half of subsequent yr.

In a press release, Rio mentioned it was “disappointed” by the choice of the particular committee and it could stay “financially disciplined” because it considers its subsequent transfer.

Should a deal not proceed, Rio mentioned it could “welcome” continued funding by minority shareholders Turquoise Hill to meet their share of “future risks and funding obligations”.

The growth prices for the underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi mine have risen to $7bn, up from an preliminary estimate of $5.3bn.

“While we are disappointed by this decision, we will continue to work constructively with the board of Turquoise Hill to advance the Oyu Tolgoi project,” mentioned Baatar.

Dalton Baretto, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, mentioned he was not shocked that the particular committee had taken such a tough line.

“Our view is that the current development reflects hardball negotiations on both sides and that there is a reasonable probability of a revised offer,” he added.

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