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Rio Tonto to sell aluminium assets in $1bn deal

LONDON, May 18, 2015

Global miner Rio Tinto plans to sell some of its aluminium assets in a potential $1 billion deal, the Financial Times reported, reviving a sale plan for its Pacific Aluminium unit two years after it was cancelled.

The Financial Times, citing "people aware of Rio's plans", said on Sunday that Rio had hired Credit Suisse to find a buyer for Pacific Aluminium, known as PacAl, which comprises a group of smelters in Australia and New Zealand.

A spokesman for Rio Tinto said the company "doesn't comment on market speculation".

Rio Tinto first said it could hive off PacAl in 2011. In 2013, it said it was considering selling it, before scrapping efforts, blaming poor market conditions.

Since then the aluminium market has recovered somewhat. The aluminium price rose 6 percent in 2014 and last year, aluminium surpassed copper as the second biggest contributor to Rio's underlying earnings behind iron ore.

In aluminium, Rio has been steadily recovering from a disastrous $38 billion acquisition of Alcan in 2007 that brought it close to bankruptcy and helped lead to the dismissal of its previous chief executive, Tom Albanese. – Reuters




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