The Australian newspaper, without citing sources, said a report in Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald “raised speculation” that Rio may bring forward a board meeting scheduled for October 17 “to make a final decision on the JV”
In a separate article, the Australian Financial Review said that an announcement on the future of the deal was likely before December 31, when the deal is due to lapse, again without citing sources.
Merrill Lynch analysts, acting as pallbearers for Rio Tinto in the JV, told Dow Jones Newswires that the deal had faced headwinds for some time and the probability of completing it was very low.
“We see a solo Rio iron ore unit as an exceptionally viable alternative with financing, infrastructure and resource solutions to match,” Merrill Lynch said.
Shares in Rio Tinto were up 0.82% in morning trade to $79.64, while shares in BHP gained 0.96% to $40.92.