Corus to sell aluminium businesses for £543 million

Corus Group has today agreed in principle to the sale of its aluminium rolled products and extrusions businesses to Pechiney for £543 million.

The proposed sale to Pechiney, the world’s fourth largest producer and converter of aluminium, concludes Corus’ divestment of its aluminium interests announced in March this year.

On September 17, Corus completed the sale to Alcan of its 20 per cent stake in Alouette, the Canadian aluminium smelter, for £107 million. Total gross proceeds received or due total approximately £650 million.

The purchase price of £543 million will be adjusted on completion of the sale to reflect interest bearing debt and other provisions, principally in respect of pension obligations, provided for by Corus. As at December 29, 2001 interest-bearing debt amounted to £16 million and total provisions amounted to £61 million.

The net proceeds will be applied to reduce debt and further strengthen the Group balance sheet.

The completion of the sale is conditional on the approval of Corus shareholders, the European Commission and appropriate regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions including the US.

Corus Aluminium Rolled Products consists of rolling mills at Koblenz, Germany and at Duffel in Belgium, together with a 60 per cent interest in Corus LP (Canada) at Cap-de-la-Madeleine.

Corus Aluminium Extrusions has plants in Vogt, Bonn and Bitterfeld in Germany; Duffel in Belgium and a 61 per cent interest in a joint venture with Tianjin Non-Ferrous Metal Group, China.

Rolled Products and Extrusions employ 4,700 people excluding around 100 associated with aluminium research, development and technology who will be retained by Corus. The Primary Aluminium business has around 1,100 employees.

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