September 21, 2017 / 4:51 PM / a year ago

Rio Tinto to increase share buybacks by $2.5 billion

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto will buy back an additional $2.5 billion worth of its shares using the proceeds from selling coal assets, the miner said on Thursday.

The action brings the total amount of buybacks this year to $4 billion following two previous announcements in February and August.

Rio shareholders approved the sale of a number of Australian coal interests to China-backed Yancoal Australia for $2.69 billion in June and some shareholders at the time called for the money to be used to increase dividends or buy back shares.

Rio paid the biggest dividend in its history in August after first-half profit more than doubled. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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