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Allens and Freehills advise as Rio strikes deal with BHP

Allens and Freehills advise as Rio strikes deal with BHP

RIO Tinto and BHP Billiton have struck a joint venture to bring together the two companies' iron ore interests in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Allens and Freehills have scooped the landmark deal.

RIO Tinto and BHP Billiton have struck a joint venture to bring together the two companies' iron ore interests in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 

The news comes as the boards of Rio Tinto announced a fully underwritten rights issue to raise gross proceeds of about $US15.2 billion. 

The landmark joint venture will include all current and future Western Australian iron ore assets and liabilities, and ownership will be evenly split between the two. 

In order to equalise the contribution value of the two companies, BHP Billiton will pay Rio Tinto $US5.8 billion for equity-type interests at financial closing, Rio Tinto announced today.

In regards to the iron ore arrangement in WA, Allens Arthur Robinson is the principal adviser to Rio Tinto. In regards to the rights issue that has been announced, Allens is the co-principal adviser with Linklaters. 

Allens is a long time adviser to Rio Tinto, and there has been a team around the Asian region from Allens working closely with Rio on these matters and other matters. 

"We're been proud to be principal adviser to Rio Tinto on these matters and we'll continue to work with them," said Scott Langford, co-relationship partner for Rio Tinto at the firm. 

Freehills is acting for all the underwriters on the Australian aspects of the transactions, The New Lawyer can reveal.

Jan du Plessis, chairman of Rio Tinto said: “Since we announced the Chinalco transaction in early February, financial markets have seen a significant improvement. This has had two consequences. 

"Firstly, the financial terms of the Chinalco transaction became markedly less valuable and, secondly our ability to raise a level of equity appropriate for our needs on attractive terms has improved very considerably.   

“In parallel, we had the opportunity to engage with BHP Billiton about the possibility of establishing a highly attractive Western Australian iron ore production joint venture that would deliver substantial value to shareholders. 


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