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RUSAL flags US$700M debt restructure

Russian aluminum group UnitedCo. RUSAL Plc is to refinance up to US$700 million of debt due for repaymentin 2016 and early 2017, the company confirmed in a statement April 26.

The group is negotiating the deal to restructure two pre-exportloans totaling US$5.15 billion, with a view to delaying payments on the facilitiesdue this year and early next year. RUSAL is hoping to reach agreement with the lendersby the end of April, the company statement read.

The sharp fall in the aluminum price last year hit RUSAL hard.Prices fell to US$1,425.50 per tonne in November 2015, its lowest price in at leastfive years. But the simultaneous fall in value of the Russian ruble helped RUSAL,one of the world's biggest producers of aluminum, to control costs.

The company accumulated US$13.63 billion in net debt at its peakat the end of 2009, as it expanded operations during the commodities bull cycle,but has been struggling to reduce it since then. Net debt at Dec. 31 last year totaledUS$8.41 billion, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

The company has closed about 600,000 tonnes of aluminum productioncapacity since 2013, and consideredclosing another 210,000 tonnes this year.