RUSAL, one of the world's largest aluminium producers, has announced the finalization of its purchase of a 20% stake in Australia's Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL), the world's largest alumina refinery, from Kaiser Aluminum.
In October 2004, RUSAL won the bidding for a 20% stake in QAL. The auction was held pursuant to rulings of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware concerning Kaiser Aluminum's Chapter 11 case. The value of the transaction amounted to US$401 mln. in cash plus the assumption of an estimated US$60 mln in debt. Since October, RUSAL has proceeded through all required approval procedures, including those from other interested parties and Australian government bodies and agencies.
«We are very pleased to have completed this transaction which is of strategic importance to RUSAL,» Alexander Bulygin, RUSAL CEO, said of the final stage of the acquisition. «The acquisition of this 20% stake in QAL is not only a considerable expansion of our raw material stock, it is also a giant step in the development of RUSAL's global presence and adds additional strength of the Company's position in the world aluminium markets. The QAL transaction is the first major investment ever made by a Russian company in Australia.»
As a result of the transaction, RUSAL secures access to an additional 770,000 tonnes/year of alumina and an opportunity to boost this to 1 mln. Tpy through further expansion of QAL. Kaiser assigned to RUSAL all its current alumina sales contracts and other agreements regarding QAL. In 2006-2007, alumina supplies under these obligations will be gradually reduced, and in 2008 RUSAL's entire share of alumina produced at QAL will become fully available for delivery to the Company's smelters. The acquisition of 20% of QAL production will expand RUSAL's raw materials base by more than 22%.
RUSAL will be represented on the QAL Board of Directors by Steven Hodgson, Managing Director, RUSAL's Alumina Division, and alternately by Duncan Hedditch, head of RUSAL's Representative Office in Australia.