Rio Tinto holds course because it seems to be inward for brand new chairman

SYDNEY (Reuters) – International miner Rio Tinto (RIO.AX)(RIO.L) signaled on Monday it should follow its “worth over quantity” technique, outlining additional strikes to spice up shareholder returns and appointing a brand new chairman from inside its board.

FILE PHOTO – An indication adorns the constructing the place mining firm Rio Tinto has their workplace in Perth, Western Australia, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/David Grey/File Picture

Rio ended months of hypothesis by naming Simon Thompson to succeed chairman Jan du Plessis, who will step down after virtually 9 years on the helm of the Anglo-Australian mining home.

Thompson, a former funding banker and senior govt with Anglo American (AAL.L), and the chairman of Rio’s remuneration committee, will tackle the brand new position on March 5, 2018.

The appointment follows a flurry of hypothesis that Rio may flip to former Xstrata chief Mick Davis, famend as an astute dealmaker, to take over from du Plessis who’s shifting to chair British telecom BT Group (BT.L).

“Thompson is well-versed within the Rio Tinto tradition, which was very completely different to that of Xstrata,” mentioned a fund supervisor on the facet of a Rio Tinto funding seminar in Sydney, who requested to not be named.

“I’d count on this to be obtained positively by the market and traders,” he added.

Rio Tinto, which is anticipated to spice up income by about 15 p.c in 2017 to $39 billion, in line with Thomson Reuters forecast information, has centered on driving down prices at its iron ore, copper and different companies in a bid to spice up returns to shareholders amid unstable commodity markets.

“Rio Tinto is in a robust place. Our price over quantity technique is working,” Chief Govt Jean-Sebastien Jacques instructed traders at a briefing on Monday.

Jacques mentioned Rio would maintain the road with its present technique with the appointment of Thompson.

“That is on no account a structural shift for us,” Jacques instructed Reuters. “With Simon, we’re persevering with on the identical profitable course we’ve got already laid out to our shareholders for maximizing our operations and progress.”


Rio Tinto on Monday additionally diminished its forecast for capital expenditure, placing 2017 capex at lower than $four.5 billion from an earlier forecast of $5 billion, because it focuses on boosting shareholder returns.

The corporate mentioned that it’ll ship further free money circulate of $1.5 billion a yr from 2021, following on from its drive to spice up free money circulate by $5 billion over 2017 to 2021.

Nevertheless, it pointed to a potential slowing in China over the following six months, with a weakening in building, infrastructure and automotive demand progress. Rio mentioned it stays optimistic about China within the medium to long run.

The miner anticipated to ship 330 million to 340 million tonnes of iron ore from its Pillar operations in 2018, barely forward of its forecast of 330 million tonnes for this yr.

Shares of Rio Tinto rose 1.2 p.c by early afternoon in a flat broader market .

Reporting by James Regan and Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Enhancing by Richard Pullin

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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