Peter Costello

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Foreign Investment Proposal: Rio Tinto Limited/North Limited

NO.076

Foreign Investment Proposal: Rio Tinto Limited/North Limited

The Treasurer has announced that the Government has no foreign investment policy objections to the proposal by Rio Tinto Limited’s (RTL) to acquire up to 100 per cent of North Limited’s share capital on condition that:

  • if successful in taking control of North, RTL would make no material changes to the operation of North Forest Products (NFP) while RTL undertook its strategic review of that company;
  • RTL will consult with the Tasmanian Government on its intentions for NFP, prior to actively marketing NFP and during any sale process and will give the Tasmanian Government the opportunity to comment on any future sale; and
  • any on sale by RTL of significant North-owned assets to a foreign-owned entity would require foreign investment approval.

The Treasurer has received assurances from RTL of its intentions to run combined corporate office functions of a successfully merged RTL/North Ltd in Melbourne. The combined corporate office functions will be those of a nature currently carried out in the Melbourne corporate office of RTL.

The decision by the Treasurer under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 was taken on advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). In examining large or otherwise significant proposals, the FIRB consults on a strictly confidential basis with State, Territory and Commonwealth departments and authorities with responsibilities relevant to the proposed activity of the foreign investor. The proposal is examined against the background of the Government’s foreign investment policy.

Any other foreign investment proposal in relation to North Limited will be subject to the same FIRB processes.

CANBERRA
24 July 2000

Contact: Janine Murphy
02 6263 3763

24 Jul 2000

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