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HIG in line to buy Rio Tinto alumina plants

France – Global mining and mineral processing specialist Rio Tinto has received a binding offer from private equity group HIG for three of its alumina plants that were put up for sale last year.

The facilities are located at Gardanne, La Bathie and Beyrede in southern France, and employ around 730 workers. Although it is known that the plants are worth roughly US$ 8 billion (Euro 5.9 billion) in terms of aluminium assets, both companies have declined to disclose the wider financial details of the deal.

The two parties have agreed to enter a ‘€˜period of exclusivity’€™; the miner intends to arrive at a decision after first consulting union representatives. According to Rio Tinto, the current negotiations follow ‘€˜quite a lot of interest’€™ from the trade and private equity sector.

Parting with these facilities is part of the group’€™s worldwide plan to scale back its activities in this sector. Aside from this deal, 10 other plants of this type are scheduled to be sold by Rio Tinto in the near future.

Rio Tinto also owns two aluminium production plants in France, and these will remain in operation.

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