Rio Tinto has received an offer for the Alcan Beauty Packaging business from Sun European Partners, although the potential value of the sale is not yet known.
The terms of the sale are confidential, but Rio has agreed to a period of exclusivity with Sun and will respond to the offer after consulting with European works councils.
However, comments from Rio chief financial officer Guy Elliot indicated the company was receptive to the bid.
“This binding offer is another important step towards completing the divestment of the Alcan Packaging businesses,” he said.
“Sun European Partners has a strong track record of investing in the packaging industry.
“We believe the offer is in the interests of all stakeholders and represents a good outcome for our shareholders.”
After a prolonged period of divestments to reduce its debt, Alcan Beauty Packaging is one of two Alcan assets still owned by Rio.
The company completed all of its proposed divestments early last month with the sale of Alcan Packaging food Americas division to Bemis Company for US$1.2 billion (around A$1.3 billion).
Since the beginning of 2008, the company had raised US$10.3 billion (A$11.2 billion) through divestments, including the sales of Alcan Packaging’s pharmaceuticals, tobacco, food Europe and food Asia divisions to Amcor.
The company has wiped around a quarter of its debt, which at the end of June last year stood at US$39.1 billion (A$42.6 billion).
The other remaining asset, Alcan’s Medical Flexible operations in the US, has been sold to Amcor, although the transaction is being reviewed by the US Department of Justice.
The Beauty division employs around 8000 people and operates 26 plants in 12 countries.