Trimet Aluminium SE, Germany’s biggest producer of the lightweight metal, offered to buy two plants in France from Rio Tinto Group.
Trimet “has submitted a binding offer,” the company said today in an e-mailed statement. Electricite de France SA “will have a minority holding in the production plants” in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Castelsarrasin, according to the statement.
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. It has been in exclusive talks with Trimet on the French plants, which have 515 staff members, since March.
Rio confirmed receiving a binding offer “conditional upon the appropriate regulatory approvals and completion of an energy and partnership arrangement with EDF” followed by a partnership agreement with the Banque Publique d’Investissement, the company said in an e-mailed statement.
Wolfgang Nuebold, a Trimet spokesman who works for Stockheim Media GmbH, declined to comment on the amount of the bid or specify the size of the planned holding by EDF when contacted by phone.
Trimet intends to invest as much as 250 million euros ($327 million) in the plants within 10 years, Chief Executive Officer Martin Iffert said on May 21.