By Pádraig Hoare
Russian firm, Rusal, which owns Aughinish Alumina in Limerick, will be avoided by customers when the industry meets in Berlin next week to seal 2019 metal-supply agreements, industry sources predict.
Rusal is majority-owned by En+, a company controlled by Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who was targeted by the US for sanctions, because of his purported ties to the Kremlin.
A total of 450 staff and 220 contractors are employed at Aughinish Alumina, which has been described as one of Limerick’s best employers. The jobs have been under a cloud as Rusal struggles with the sanctions.
The US Treasury has extended the deadline to investors to divest interests in Rusal to October 23.
Mr Deripaska has been told he must relinquish control of his stake. The Berlin event is known as the ‘mating season’ and takes place alongside a conference run by industry publication, Metal Bulletin.
Negotiations typically agree quantities and premiums paid above the London Metal Exchange, benchmark aluminium price.
“We can’t agree a deal with Rusal, on the basis that sanctions will be lifted by October 23,” a Rusal customer in Europe said. “Anyone that has a relationship with Rusal will be preparing for the sanctions to remain in place for now”.
- Additional reporting Reuters