Rio Tinto completes $2.1 billion buyback and $576 million sale

Rio Tinto has completed a US$2.1 billion off-market share buyback in its Australian division and added the finishing touches to a $576 million divestment of land in British Columbia, Canada.

The mining giant said the buyback of 41.2 million shares was transacted at a 14% discount on the market price. Chief executive J-S Jacques added that an additional $1.1 billion would be returned to shareholders through an ongoing buyback.

Rio will also commence a $1.19 billion share buyback in its London division in February next year, as part of a plan to return the proceeds of the sale of coal assets in 2018 to shareholders.

Also confirmed was the lease and sale of a wharf and land in Kitimat, British Columbia to LNG Canada for $576 million. LNG Canada is a Shell-led joint venture that also comprises Petronas, PetroChina, Mitsubishi Corporation and Korea Gas Corporation.

Rio’s chief financial officer Jakob Stausholm said: “This sale demonstrates our ability to generate cash from an existing asset, without losing future cash flow, as we continue to drive value across our entire portfolio.”