Rio to return Coal & Allied proceeds to shareholders

Rio Tinto plans to buy back another $US2.5 billion ($3.1 billion) worth of shares, returning the proceeds from the sale of Coal & Allied to shareholders.

The miner this month completed a $US2.69 billion sale of Coal & Allied, its Hunter Valley coal division, to Chinese-controlled Yancoal.

Rio said the capital return program would be executed through a combination of an off-market buy back tender, targeting $US560 million, with the remaining funds to be allocated to its existing on-market purchases.

The company’s plan brings the total of its share buy backs announced in 2017 to $US4 billion.

Chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques commented: “Returning the $US2.5 billion proceeds from our Coal & Allied divestment shows our continued commitment to delivering superior value and returning cash to our shareholders.

“This year we have announced cash returns to shareholders of $US8.2 billion, comprising $US4.2 billion of dividends and $US4 billion of share buy-backs.

“Shareholder returns of this scale are made possible by maintaining the strongest balance sheet in the sector and a disciplined capital allocation process.”

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