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Australian minister says abortion of deal with Chinalco "commercial matter"
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16:28, June 05, 2009

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Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan, commenting on the now aborted deal between Rio Tinto and Chinalco, said on Friday that it was a commercial matter for the private sector and did not concern the government.

Rio Tinto has announced its deal with the Chinese state-owned company was no longer viable, and would instead hold a 19 billion Australian dollars (15.27 billion US dollars) rights issue.

The announcement means Swan will no longer have to make a decision on whether to allow Chinalco to hold a major stake in one of Australia's largest companies.

However, Swan indicated he was not averse to such a deal in principle.

"Australia welcomes foreign investment, it is very important to this country and we do welcome proposals from foreign countries provided they are in the national interest, but I gather from what I've heard ... that there are commercial arrangements that have been reached and that's entirely a matter for the companies involved and I can't comment any further." Swan was quoted by the Australian Associated Press as saying.

The aborted deal would have involved joint investments worth 15 billion Australian dollars (12.05 billion US dollars) in aluminium, copper and ore mining with Rio Tinto.

The deal would have bought 9 billion dollars (7.23 US billion dollars) worth of convertible bonds in the company.

If redeemed for shares, the bonds would have almost doubled Chinalco's existing 9 percent stake in Rio Tinto Group to 18 percent.


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