Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Rio Tinto Gets Binding Offer For Aluminium Dunkerque In France

Rio Tinto plans to sell its Aluminium Dunkerque smelter in France to industrial and metals company Liberty House Group for $US500 million ($A700 million).

The acquisition, by subsidiary Liberty House, marks the start of a €2bn (US$2.4bn) investment programme in France and an expansion by the group into continental Europe.

Aluminium content in vehicles manufactured on the continent in expected to rise by more than a quarter by 2024, with trends leaning towards lighter components to help lower carbon emissions.

In a statement Mr Gupta said the offer to buy the French smelter Aluminium Dunkerque was in line with the company's "ambitious plans". "Aluminium Dunkerque has a high-quality aluminium operation benefitting from a top-class workforce and management", said Gupta following the announcement.

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Said to be the largest of its kind in Europe, the Aluminium Dunkerque smelter has a capacity of 270,000 tons of aluminum per year.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said the offer represented the best option for future development of the site, while also delivering value for the company as its portfolio is streamlined.

The firm intends to develop the plant into an global centre of aluminum and downstream aluminum products expertise, demonstrating its GREENALUMINIUM strategy.

Liberty acquired Rio Tinto's aluminium smelter at Lochaber in Scotland in December 2016 and is now investing £120 million ($162 million) to modernise and expand the plant, including the addition of an adjacent alloy wheels factory that will use primary aluminium made on site, creating around 400 direct jobs and a similar number in the supply chain and regional economy.

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