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Rio Tinto Alcan in talks to sell French smelter

Keywords: Tags  Rio Tinto Alcan, Trimet Aluminum, smelter sale, aluminum smelter, Arnaud Montebourg, National Assembly, French smelter, aluminum Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — Rio Tinto Alcan is in negotiations with an "interested party" as it looks to sell its aluminum smelter in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, France, as well as an associated facility in Castelsarrasin, France, a company spokesman said April 1.

The Montreal-based aluminum producer in early March "invited an interested party to engage in an exclusive negotiating process," the spokesman said. While he declined to name the interested party, he said the choice was based on "their ability to continue operations" at the two sites.

"Our last recourse, should the sale process fail, would be closure," the spokesman added.

French Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg said during a National Assembly meeting last month that Rio Tinto had entered into exclusive negotiations for both sites with Essen, Germany-based Trimet Aluminum AG.

Montebourg, during a discussion of the future of France’s aluminum industry, said it had been feared that Rio Tinto might relocate production to another region that could offer electricity at much lower rates, according to a transcript of the meeting on the National Assembly website.

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