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Rio Tinto Gets French Approval for Alcan Purchase

Rio Tinto received the French government's approval on Thursday for its proposed $38.1 billion acquisition of the Montreal-based Alcan by one of its subsidiaries.

The approval under foreign investment rules followed a meeting between Christine Lagarde, French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Employment and Rio Tinto chairman Paul Skinner.

Receipt of this and other regulatory clearances is a condition of Rio Tinto's offer to acquire the aluminium giant.

"We have had a very constructive and positive dialogue with the French government over the past two months," Skinner said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

'During our discussions, we underlined our strong, long-term commitment to France, which provides an attractive environment in which to invest, conduct business and engage in world leading research and development.

"The approval by the French government brings us a step closer to completion of the transaction, which we are aiming to achieve in the fourth quarter."

Rio Tinto received shareholder approval for the transaction on September 28.

The $101-per-share offer to purchase all of the shares of Alcan is being made by Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto.

The offer closes on October 23 and is subject to acceptances by holders of not less than 66 2/3 percent of Alcan shares.