Rio Tinto Puts up 13 Aluminum Businesses for Sale

October 17 00:00 2011

New York, October 17 ( – Anglo-Australian mining giant, Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) said on Monday that 13 aluminum businesses have been put up for sale with the intention of improving its financial performance. These include refineries and smelters in Australia and Europe. It said that it is streamlining its Alcan aluminum division following a strategic review of its portfolio. It is now planning to concentrate on its so-called tier one assets.

Rio had bought Canada’s Alcan for about US$38 billion in 2007 when the market was on a high,  When the market turned amid the global financial crisis, its debts increased and it was forced to sell some of its businesses and slash costs. Rio would, however, continue to manage a group of seven assets within its Alcan unit until they are sold. These will include alumina plants and a refinery in France and Germany, the Sebree smelter in the US and a smelter and power station in the UK.

Interests in six other assets in Australia and New Zealand, including a bauxite mine, an alumina refinery and several smelters would be transferred to a new unit, which will be called Pacific Aluminum. Chief Executive Tom Albanese said, “The strength of our balance sheet means that we can choose the most opportune method and timing to divest these assets, which may not occur until the economic climate improves.” He remarked that the assets being sold are sound and well- managed, but no longer aligned with Rio’s strategy.