Trimet Aluminium AG, Germany’s biggest producer of the lightweight metal, said it’s in discussions with Rio Tinto Group to buy two smelters in France.
“We are in talks,” Martin Iffert, chief executive officer of Trimet, said by phone, declining to give further details. An official for Rio in London declined to comment.
Rio has been seeking to sell at least 13 aluminum assets since 2011 when it grouped the operations in its Pacific Aluminium unit in preparation for a possible disposal. The Rio-Trimet talks started yesterday, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg told the French National Assembly.
“We were worried that Rio Tinto, having announced its plans to exit the business, would simply shut the plants and move production abroad,” he said. “I’m fortunate to be able to tell you that, since yesterday, Rio Tinto is in exclusive talks with Trimet for the takeover of the site at Castelsarrasin, but also for the one at Saint-Jean de Maurienne.”
Reuters reported Montebourg’s comments earlier.