Russia’s leading aluminum producer United Co. Rusal (SEHK: 486; EN: RUSAL; MCX: RUAL/RUALR) agreed to sell a 100% stake of its Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart) to Jiuquan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., a Chinese state owned enterprise, for $299 million.

Rusal’s chairman, president, and largest shareholder is Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is the founder and owner of Basic Element, one of the largest Russian industrial groups, and president of En+ Group. The former metals trader “came back from the brink of collapse, facing margin calls and billions of dollars in debt triggered by the 2008 financial crisis,” according to Forbes, and currently has a net worth valued at $3.3 billion.

Rusal is the world’s second largest aluminum company. It was the largest until overtaken by China Hongqiao Group in 2015. UC Rusal accounts for nearly 9% of the world’s primary aluminum output and 9% of the world’s alumina production. The United Company Rusal was formed through the merger of Rusal, Sual, and the alumina assets of Swiss-based Glencore, completed in March 2007. The company operates in 19 countries over five continents and employs over 72,000 people. UC Rusal is incorporated in Jersey, where it has its financial center, and is headquartered in Moscow.

Alpart is a large production complex in Jamaica, which uses its own bauxite mines to feed alumina production. Before the shut-down of Alpart from 2009 to 2015, annual production capacity of the complex was 1.65 million tonnes of cell-grade alumina and 4.9 million tonnes of bauxite.

Rusal acquired a 65% stake in Alpart in 2007 as part of its merger with the alumina assets of Glencore, and acquired the remaining 35% stake in 2011.

“We are very pleased with the achieved agreement,” said Rusal’s CEO Vladislav Soloviev. “The deal is of financial interest for us, in that it does not affect the vertically integrated production chain of the company. Eusal’s production facilities both in Russia and abroad fully satisfy the company’s alumina demand while the company-owned bauxite resources ensure our plants’ performance for the next 100 years and more. The deal also strengthens our relationship with our Chinese partners, opening new opportunities for the future co-operation in other areas.”

The deal was undertaken under Rusal’s assets optimization and debt ratio reduction program, the company said. The deal has been approved by Rusal’s board of directors. The deal is also subject to approvals by the Government of Jamaica and a number of state bodies in China.

After the closing, Jiuquan will become one of the top 10 producers of aluminum in China.

Jiuquan Iron & Steel Co. was established in 1958 as a large-scale iron and steel producer, the first one strategically located in the North-West of China. Its products include wires and rods, rolled steel plates, and bars, with a production capacity of 8 million tons of crude and rolled steel annually. The company also has other business divisions including aluminum, electricity, and engineering technical services.

Photo: Oleg Deripaska, Chairman and President of UC Rusal.

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