RTZ tarnished by scandal at Sumitomo

The Sumitomo copper scandal slashed profits last year at RTZ-CRA, the mining giant, which also yesterday announced it was reverting to its historic name of Rio Tinto. The group said the fall in metals prices in 1996, mostly copper and aluminium, had cost $311m (pounds 190m) in lost earnings, while adverse exchange movements, particularly the Australian dollar had shaved a further $38m from the bottom line.

The group is also facing continuing problems with the commissioning of its new copper smelter at Bingham Canyon, Utah, which represents the last phase of a $2bn investment programme instituted since the operation was acquired from BP in 1989.

Underlying earnings, stripping out exceptional items, slumped 24 per cent to $1.1bn (pounds 701m) in the year to December. The group has moved to reporting its results and dividends in dollars, the main currency of its operations, which would have resulted in a flat final dividend this year, the chairman, Robert Wilson, said. But in view of the recent appreciation of sterling the group has upped the final payment from 13p to 13.11p, payable as a foreign income dividend, as a gesture to shareholders. Even so, the total rises only marginally from 31.5p to 31.71p.

Mr Wilson said the name change would be put to shareholders at annual meetings of both companies. RTZ-CRA "really is too much of a mouthful", he said. The new name "has the great advantage of not becoming an acronym".

It harks back to the group's origins when it was floated on the stock market in 1873 as a developer of the ancient Rio Tinto copper mines near the river of the same name near Seville in southern Spain.

At the end of 1995, RTZ, as it became, bought in its minority associate in Australia, the former Conzinc Riotinto of Australia, to form the current group.

Comment, page 21

Investment column, page 22

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific