British-owned Liberty, part of UK’s “Man of Steel” Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, has struck a financing deal to go ahead with the acquisition of Aluminium Dunkerque –Europe’s largest aluminium smelter – from Rio Tinto. The company intends to make substantial investments in the plant to become a major integrated manufacturing business on the continent.
The arrangement between GFG Alliance and a number of lending institutions involves five-year committed funds and clears the way for the Rio Tinto – Liberty Group deal to be formally completed by the end of November. The announcement follows extensive talks among a wide variety of parties including French regulators, energy providers, unions, and other stakeholders.
The company says the deal will protect the business “in the face of aluminium market turbulence arising in part from US sanctions against Rusal and the closure of a major alumina refinery in Brazil.”
Once the deal is completed, Liberty intends to make more investments in the property that produces metals and components for the automotive and other industries in France. As part of this growing demand in the country, Liberty recently acquired the aluminium wheels factory at Chateauroux in central France.
Sanjeev Gupta, the executive chairman of the GFG Alliance, commented on the deal:
“I’m very pleased to have completed this committed facility with a broad range of leading banks allowing Liberty to complete this landmark transaction. It allows us to press ahead with our plans to develop Dunkerque, to expand production and create added-value downstream operations. This agreement underlines the support of the banking community for GFG’s vision for economic and environmental sustainability.”
Located in northern France, the Dunkerque smelter boasts an annual capacity of 270,000 tons. Originally commissioned in 1991 by Pechiney and powered by two nuclear reactors, the smelter was purchased by Alcan and sold to Rio Tinto about a decade ago. Liberty is part of the London-based GFG Alliance – a global group of energy, mining, metals, engineering, logistics and financial services businesses.
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