Rio said that senior officers of Turquoise Hill have entered into voting support agreements with respect to all of the Turquoise Hill shares they own or control.
“After extensive negotiations, the terms of the transaction are final and there will be no further price increase,” Rio Tinto’s chief executive Jakob Stausholm said in the statement.
The final offer represents a 67% premium from Turquoise Hill’s closing price of C$25.68 a share on March 11, the trading day prior to Rio Tinto’s initial proposal.
“[The transaction] brings the financial certainty necessary to ensure the Oyu Tolgoi project can be developed without having to ask minority shareholders to contribute further significant funds,” added Rio Tinto Copper boss, Bold Baatar.
The two companies also agreed to amend financing arrangements to help the Turquoise Hill address near-term liquidity, including increasing a May advance facility to $650 million from $400 million and extending the deadline for a $650 million equity raising and debt repayment to at least March 2023.
The deal requires two thirds of shareholders, including Rio Tinto’s, to vote in favour. More than 50% of minority shareholders must approve it.
A special meeting of Turquoise Hill shareholders is expected in the fourth quarter and the deal, if approved, will close shortly thereafter.
With the transaction, Rio will hold a direct majority stake in Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world’s largest known copper and gold deposits.
The global miner, which has mined copper from Oyu Tolgoi’s open pit for a decade, will have the task to conclude building the underground section of the mine.
Once finished, it will lift production from 125,000–150,000 tonnes in 2019 to 560,000 tonnes per year at peak output, which is now expected by 2025 at the earliest.
This would make it the biggest new copper mine to come on stream in several years.
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