15 July 2007

BHP Billiton considering US$50 billion bid for ALCOA

In the wake of Rio Tinto's successful bid of US$38 billion for ALCAN, mining giant BHP Billiton is reportedly considering making a US$50 billion bid for ALCOA.
BHP Billiton is already heavily involved with Alcoa through marketing arrangements in the US and its 39.25 per cent stake in Alcoa of Australia, which operates the Portland and Point Henry aluminium smelters in Victoria that provide about 30 per cent of Australia's aluminium production, and the Kwinana, Pinajara and Wagerup alumina refineries in Western Australia.
Meanwhile Rio Tinto is reportedly looking at options to cope with ALCAN's debt.
"We will be looking at the full range of Rio Tinto businesses in the new, larger Rio Tinto," he told ABC television.

He did not specifiy which parts of the business could be sold but said there could be some that "don't quite fit" or would be more valuable in the hands of another company.

"We might find buyers that are willing to pay more for them than we would necessarily see ascribed in our valuations or in our balance sheet," he said.

Analysts have said that Rio could offload its aluminium smelters or Alcan's engineered products division.