Rio Tinto offloads aluminium smelter to GFG Alliance

Image: GFG Alliance

Rio Tinto has completed the sale of its largest aluminium smelter in Europe, Aluminium Dunkerque, to Liberty House for $US500 million ($697 million).

The sale was initially targeted for completion in the second quarter of 2018. Liberty House is the industrial division of the Gupta Family Group (GFG Alliance).

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said earlier this year the sale would deliver value for the company thanks to a streamlined portfolio.

According to Barrios, Liberty House has a track record in investing in similar assets, which should secure a long-term sustainable future for Aluminium Dunkerque and continued economic benefit for the wider community.

The 285,000 tonnes a year smelter will be renamed Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque, and developed into a 570-worker smelter that produces components for the growing European automative markets.

GFG executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said, “Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque provide excellent facilities, expertise and skilled workforces that enable us to grow strongly through long-term investments.

“The studies for Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque’s investment in added-value aluminium have confirmed our initial assumptions and we’ll continue our work on developing the investment program.”

GFG Alliance also operates the Scotland-based Lochaber aluminium smelter and assets formerly owned by Rio Tinto.

Rio will return sale proceeds from Aluminium Dunkerque to shareholders.