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24 Jun 2008
Moody's assigns A3 rating to Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited notes issue; Outlook Positive
$5 billion of notes rated
New York, June 24, 2008 -- Moody's Investors Service assigned an A3 rating to the $5
billion in notes issued by Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited guaranteed
by Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited (Rio Tinto). The notes,
issued under the company's well-known seasoned issuer shelf
registration (rated (P)A3 for senior unsecured debt securities),
are being issued in 3 tranches with maturities in 2013, 2018 and
2028. At the same time Moody's affirmed the A3 senior unsecured
ratings of entities within the Rio Tinto Group, including Rio Tinto
Alcan Inc., as well as the Prime-2 short-term
ratings of the rated entities within the group. Proceeds will be
used for toward debt repayment under the $40 billion credit facility
put in place in conjunction with the acquisition of Alcan Inc in late
2007. The outlook is positive.
Rio Tinto's A3 senior unsecured rating captures the extensive business
portfolio of the group's low-cost, long lived productive
assets, which are providing strong earnings momentum in the current
metal cycle, despite cost pressures and some production challenges
in 2008 to date. Rio Tinto's performance also benefits from
the operating diversity of its businesses, which are balanced between
commodity exposures and negotiated price exposure, such as iron
ore and coal, thereby softening the effect of cyclical swings in
any particular commodity. The rating acknowledges Rio Tinto's
considerable cash generation capacity and the intent of the company to
delever following its acquisition of Alcan Inc, which closed in
October 2007. Pro-forma for the Alcan acquisition,
using Moody's standard adjustments, we estimate that leverage,
as measured by the debt/EBITDA ratio, approximated 3.4x at
December 31, 2007.
..Issuer: Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited
....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture,
Moody's last rating action on Rio Tinto was May 1, 2008 at
which time the ratings were confirmed with a positive outlook, concluding
the review initiated on February 6, 2008 following BHP Billiton's
unsolicited offer to acquire Rio Tinto. This offer remains outstanding.
Headquartered in London, England, Rio Tinto is one of the
world's largest diversified mining groups with substantial interests
in alumina and aluminum, copper, iron ore, coal,
uranium, diamonds and industrial minerals (titanium dioxide feedstock,
salt and talc). Rio Tinto generated revenues of $29.7
billion in 2007, which only includes Alcan from October 23.
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
No Related Data.
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