Giant miner BHP tables Rio takeover bid

Business Materials 6 February 2008 04:44 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton Ltd said Wednesday that support from China's aluminum giant Chinalco was not essential for its hostile takeover of rival resources firm Rio Tinto to succeed.

Chinalco and US partner Alcoa Inc teamed up for a 14-billion-US-dollar off-market raid in London on Friday that delivered them a potentially spoiling 12-per-cent stake in Rio.

BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers told reporters during a conference call that entering discussions with Chinalco and Alcoa over the takeover bid was "something that hasn't been contemplated".

BHP, the world's biggest mining company, increased its offer for Rio under a revised bid that came on the eve of a deadline set by British regulators.

It wants Rio shareholders to accept 3.4 of its shares for every Rio share - an improvement on the three-for-one offer made in November.

"I believe that there is widespread support for the compelling logic of the proposal to combine the companies," he said during a teleconference. "I think the offer terms (are) very favourable to all the Rio Tinto shareholders, and indeed Chinalco as well."

The offer is conditional on BHP receiving more than 50 per cent of the traded shares in Rio Tinto Ltd and Rio Tinto plc.

Rio, in a statement released in Sydney, urged shareholders to await further details.

"The boards of Rio Tinto will consider the terms of the proposal carefully in the light of all circumstances and will make a further statement once they have completed this assessment," Rio Tinto chairman Paul Skinner said in a statement.