Concerns remain for Aughinish jobs

Pádraig Hoare

Confusion surrounds billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s position on the board of Russian aluminium giant Rusal, the owner of Aughinish Alumina in Limerick.

Concerns remain for Aughinish jobs

The decision of Mr Deripaska to stand down from the board of directors of En+ Group, Rusal’s majority shareholder, was described by Limerick TD Niall Collins as a “positive development” for the 450 jobs and more than 200 agency positions at Aughinish near Askeaton.

However, Mr Deripaska has still not stepped down formally from Rusal’s own board of directors, the company said, adding that its business may still be affected by US sanctions.

“The company reiterates that its current assessment is that it is still highly likely that the impact may be materially adverse to the business and prospects of the group,” Rusal said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse.

“As at the date of this announcement, the company has not received any formal resignation from Mr Deripaska.”

Rusal shares, which slumped in April on news of the sanctions, were up more than 5% in Hong Kong.

The jobs in Limerick have been under a cloud as US sanctions imposed on Rusal played havoc with metal markets over the past month.

Mr Deripaska was targeted because of his purported close ties to the Kremlin. He has repeatedly called the sanctions “groundless” but has indicated he would divest his interests in businesses like Rusal.

The threat of sanctions has also affected other large companies. Mining giant Rio Tinto has plants in France and Iceland that use the Irish alumina, and Liberty House Group’s Scottish smelter also depends on the site.

The US Administration has since softened its stance towards Rusal, saying its issue is with Mr Deripaska and not the company.

Mr Collins said the stepping down of Mr Deripaska from En+ Group was good news for the workers, but urged the Government to keep abreast of all developments and engage with its counterparts in Washington.

“It is a positive development that Mr Deripaska has recognised this is the option he needs to pursue. In doing so, it will hopefully ensure the future of Aughinish’s viability,” the Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman said. Business Minister Heather Humphreys raised Aughinish with US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington earlier this month.

The department said it was closely engaging with the firm and its management and continues “to keep the situation under close and careful review”, adding that Mr Ross was aware of the threat to the Irish jobs.

Additional reporting Reuters

More in this Section

Unrealistic for UK to complete trade deal with Brussels by end of 2020 – BarnierUnrealistic for UK to complete trade deal with Brussels by end of 2020 – Barnier

Druids Glen Hotel profits climb 51%Druids Glen Hotel profits climb 51%

Federal Reserve leaves benchmark rate the sameFederal Reserve leaves benchmark rate the same

Celtic Pure placed into liquidationCeltic Pure placed into liquidation


Fr Brian D’Arcy was born nearEnniskillen, Co Fermanagh in 1945.A Question of Taste with Fr Brian D'Arcy

About a year ago Aitch, real name Harrison Armstrong, dropped out of school to start working with his grandfather as a labourer in Manchester.Rapper Aitch on quitting his job to pursue music full-time

A new book delves into the details of Harry Clarke’s stained glass windows in such places as Dingle and Cork, writes Marjorie Brennan.The book that delves into the details of Harry Clarke's stained glass windows

They’re the best air purifiers around so we should grow more houseplants all year round, says Peter Dowdall.Not just for December: The reason why she should grow more houseplants all year round

More From The Irish Examiner