Stocks To Watch – Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto (RIO) is an international mining group, whose main activities involve mining and processing mineral resources such as aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy, gold, and iron ore.

RIO is a combination of London-based Rio Tinto plc, and Australian-based Rio Tinto Ltd.

RIO is one of the biggest companies in the Australian stock market, and operates in a booming industry thanks to strong commodity demand from the Asian region.

Recently, RIO completed the sale of its Alcan Packaging Food Americas division to Bemis Company for US$1.2 billion.

RIO acquired Alcan packaging as part of its disastrous takeover of Canadian-based Alcan in 2007. The Alcan deal was financed entirely with debt, and this proved to be a heavy burden for RIO when financial markets collapsed shortly after.

RIO has attempted to reduce its debt through significant divestments of its existing businesses. The sale of RIO’s Alcan Packaging business has seen the proceeds from its divestment program exceed US$10 billion.

The recapitalisation of its balance sheet is providing RIO with plenty of ammunition to make some strategic acquisitions in the near future. All this has the potential to make RIO one of the best performers in the Australian stock market.