Rio Tinto Targeting $3 Billion More in Debt Reductions

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Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) may have had its problems during the time that metals and commodities were falling. At the same time, Rio Tinto remains one of the world’s top mining and metals companies. Now the company has launched a $3 billion debt reduction plan as part of its capital management efforts.

It turns out that Rio Tinto has issued redemption notices for $1.5 billion of U.S. denominated notes due in 2017 and 2018. It also has cash tenders for another $1.5 billion in U.S. dollar denominated notes maturing from 2019 through 2022.

Rio Tinto has said that it plans to take advantage of its strong liquidity position, which should allow the company to lower its total debt. And note that it follows the successful completion of $4.5 billion in cash tenders over prior months in 2016.

Unless the offer is extended, Monday’s offer for the securities covered will expire at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on October 24, 2016. The company’s statement said:

Today’s announcement is part of the Rio Tinto Group’s ongoing capital management and follows the successful completion of $4.5 billion cash tender offers earlier this year. In April, Rio Tinto launched a program to purchase $1.5 billion of its 2017 and 2018 notes and in June it announced plans to purchase $3 billion of its 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 notes. Both offers were successfully completed. In June, $1.5 billion of notes also matured and were repaid with cash.

Debt tenders rarely move a stock price, at least not like share buybacks can do. Still, Rio Tinto’s revenue was $34.8 billion in 2015, generating gross profit of $6.9 billion and operating profit of $3.61 billion. Rio Tinto’s 2015 net income from continuing operations was negative at −$1.358 billion.

At the end of 2015, Rio Tinto’s cash was nearly $9.4 billion and its long-term debt was $22.22 billion. The company’s total assets at the end of 2015 were $91.56 billion, versus $54.21 billion in total liabilities.

Rio Tinto was last seen down four cents at $32.37 in New York trading. Its 52-week range is $21.89 to $40.05, and this was a more than $50 stock in just 2014.