Australia-based metals and mining firm Rio Tinto has received an offer from United Kingdom-based Liberty House Group to acquire its Aluminium Dunkerque smelter in northern France for $500 million, subject to due diligence-related adjustments.
Liberty House, with a portfolio that includes steel mills and metal recycling sites in several nations, has been expanding its operations rapidly this decade, including completing the acquisition of a steel mill in South Carolina in the United States in December 2017. Additionally, the company acquired Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter in Scotland in 2016.
In accordance with French law, Rio Tinto indicates it will launch a consultation process with employees, relevant European labor unions and other stakeholders in relation to the bid. The company, in a news release, states it expects to complete the sale of Aluminium Dunkerque in the second quarter of 2018.
“The binding offer for the sale of Aluminium Dunkerque represents the best option for the future development of the site while also delivering value for Rio Tinto as we continue to streamline our portfolio,” comments Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto Aluminium’s CEO.
He adds, “Liberty House has a track record of investing in similar assets, which should secure a long-term sustainable future for Aluminium Dunkerque and continued economic benefit for the wider community.”
The Dunkerque smelter began operations in 1991. With an annual capacity of 270,000 metric tons of aluminum, Rio Tinto describes it as one of the largest aluminum slab producers in Europe.