Rio Tinto has completed the sale of its 285,000-tpy aluminium smelter at Dunkerque, France, to Liberty House for USD500 million. Liberty House, which is part of the GFG Alliance (Gupta Family Group), has committed to continuing operations at the smelter and has announced plans for the development of additional activity around the site. As previously announced, the proceeds will be returned to shareholders, with the precise timing and form to be announced with Rio Tinto’s 2018 full year results. Rio Tinto estimates that there will be no material tax payable on this transaction.
The acquisition of the plant – to be renamed Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque – paves the way for an investment programme for a wider integrated manufacturing business serving the French and European markets, especially for automotive components and other growing industries. Liberty has been supported by a syndicate of international banks with a USD350m term loan facility.
Jay Hambro, GFG’ head of Investment, said: “Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque is a high-performing, profitable asset with modern equipment, excellent transport connections to key markets and high-skilled workforces. There is great potential for expansion, further modernization and the application of GFG’s ‘Green Aluminium’ strategy.”