Corus Pechiney deal now up in the air

On October 23 2002, Corus announced that it had agreed in principle to the sale of its aluminium rolled products and extrusion businesses to Pechiney. Now, the outcome isn’t so certain.

On October 23 2002, Corus announced that it had agreed in principle to the sale of its aluminium rolled products and extrusion businesses to Pechiney.

Today, however, the Board of Corus announced that, following a meeting yesterday, the Supervisory Board of Corus has decided to reject the Management Board’s recommendation to proceed with the Sale.

In a statement, the Board of Corus said that it felt that that the Supervisory Board has acted irresponsibly and unreasonably in rejecting the sale.

In light of this, the Board of Corus filed a request this morning before the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal to allow the sale to proceed. Pechiney have been informed of the situation and Corus anticipates a decision from the Court on Thursday, March 13 2003.

In parallel with the approval process for the sale, the Board of Corus has considered the group’s broader strategy for carbon steel. This strategy is focused on eliminating the group’s losses, which continue to emanate from the UK.

The Board of Corus say that its UK losses must be reversed and this will inevitably lead to significant further capacity reductions and concentration of operations onto fewer sites.

Corus intends to use the proceeds of the sale to Pechiney to finance measures it needs to take to support its operations in the UK. But if the sale does not go ahead, the company will need to look afresh for finance from equity and debt providers and may include proceeds from disposals of non-core assets.

Editor’s note: Corus Nederland, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Corus Group, is required by law to have a Supervisory Board to advise the Management Board. The Supervisory Board is responsible for supervising the policies of the Management Board of Corus Nederland and the general course of business of the company.

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