Rio Tinto to Buy Back $1.7 Billion of 2018 Bonds to Reduce Debt

Rio Tinto Group will repurchase about $1.7 billion of bonds, its second buyback in about two months, as it seeks to cut debt.

The world’s second-largest mining company is buying back $943 million of 6.5 percent notes due in July 2018 and $804 million of 2.25 percent securities maturing in December the same year, both at premiums to their face value, according to a statement from the company on Tuesday. Rio Tinto said it may buy as much as $3 billion of debt, starting with the 2018 notes. Holders of bonds due 2020, 2021 and 2022 still have until July 5 to tender.

Rio Tinto is seeking to bolster its balance sheet following a collapse in commodity prices. The miner froze salaries and reduced travel costs in January and announced plans the following month to cut its dividend. It repurchased $1.5 billion of notes in April and May.

Other miners also bought back debt even as pressure on the sector eased this year after commodities rebounded 13 percent. Anglo American Plc spent $1.7 billion buying notes in euros, dollars and pounds earlier this year and steelmaker ArcelorMittal repurchased the equivalent of about $1.1 billion of euro- and dollar-denominated bonds in April.

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