Rio Tinto shareholders okay $2.69 billion coal assets sale to China-backed Yancoal – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – June 29, 2017)

SYDNEY – Rio Tinto shareholders approved the sale of a suite of Australian coal assets to China-backed Yancoal Australia for $2.69 billion, ending a bidding war with commodities trader Glencore.

The sale was approved by 97 percent of shareholders of Rio Tinto’s UK and Australian-listed shares, Rio Tinto said on Thursday in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.

Rio Tinto Chairman Jan du Plessis said funds from the sale had yet to be allocated within the company amid some calls by shareholders to use the money to boost dividends or buy back shares.

“What to do with the money? That’s a good problem to have,” du Plessis told a meeting of shareholders in Australia minutes before they voted overwhelmingly in favor of the deal. “Let’s wait until we get the cheque in the bank,” du Plessis added.

Rio Tinto, which has dual primary stock listings in Australia and Britain, confirmed Yancoal as the preferred buyer on June 26 after Yancoal topped Glencore’s offer of $2.675 billion.

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