Chinalco, Alcoa to take 12% stake in Rio Tinto

By Chen Jialu (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-02-02 08:49

The Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) and US aluminum producer Alcoa on Friday bought a 12 percent stake in Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest mining company.

The total price of the acquisition stood at $14.05 billion, the largest overseas investment ever made by a Chinese enterprise.

"Chinalco has an overwhelming majority of the acquired 12 percent stake and is playing a leading role in the deal," said Chinalco Vice-President Lu Yongqing.

The firms purchased the shares through Shining Prospect Pte, a Singapore-based special purpose vehicle (SPV) wholly-owned by Chinalco.

China Development Bank helped to arrange the deal, while Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc and the China International Capital Corporation were hired as the deal's financial advisers.

The partnership with Alcoa, the world's leading aluminum producer, demonstrated that Chinalco was accelerating its plans to go global, Lu said.

Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alain Belda said in a statement on the company's website Rio Tinto "has a world-class portfolio of assets and is very well-positioned to prosper in the current mining cycle".

"This investment, made in partnership with Chinalco, allows us to mutually benefit from developments in the sector," said Belda.

The acquisition came days ahead of the Feb 6 deadline for Melbourne-based BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, to make a formal acquisition bid for Rio Tinto or to drop the proposed takeover, which has so far been resisted by Rio.

Chinalco, as China's largest aluminum producer, recently stepped up its expansion strategy into overseas markets and other metal business, and pledged to edge up into the Fortune 500 this year.

The landmark deal is the latest in its cross-border mega-takeovers, which include a $1.2 billion investment in an aluminum smelter plant in Saudi Arabia and the $860 million takeover of Peru Copper last year.

Beijing-based Chinalco reported 24.1 percent year-on-year growth in sales revenue to 131.7 billion yuan ($19.1 billion) last year, while net profit exceeded 20 billion yuan ($2.78 billion).

Xinhua contributed to this story

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