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Report: Gupta's GFG interested in buying Rio Tinto's aluminum assets

Rio Tinto is in advanced discussions with Sanjeev Gupta's GFG Alliance for the sale of the miner's aluminum business in Australia in New Zealand, the Financial Times wrote, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Gupta is visiting Australia this week, and while the talks could end without a deal, the steel tycoon is eager to acquire Rio's Pacific Aluminium business, or PacAl.

Gupta, however, could face competition from Glencore Plc's 47%-owned Century Aluminum Co., which is also targeting the business.

PacAl comprises three smelters and a power station in Australia, as well as a facility in New Zealand. The business has a workforce of more than 2,000 and posted net income of US$92 million in the six months that ended June 30, compared to US$29 million a year ago.

GFG, Rio and Glencore declined to comment, the report stated.

Rio has attempted to sell or spin off PacAl before, but the market is now more conducive to a deal, according to bankers.