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Report: Rio Tinto working to revive sale of European aluminum assets

Rio Tinto is working to revive the sales process for some of its aluminum assets with the help of French investment bank Natixis, Reuters reported Oct. 10, citing sources.

The assets include the miner's Icelandic aluminum plant, Rio Tinto Iceland Ltd., a 53% stake in a Dutch anode facility and a 50% interest in a Swedish aluminum fluoride plant, which have been valued at about US$350 million.

In September, Norsk Hydro ASA abandoned the US$345 million acquisition of these assets, citing delays in securing European Commission approval for the transaction.

Industry sources said the commission may have had competition concerns given Norsk Hydro's large position in aluminum.

Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques has been focusing on off-loading all but the company's best-performing units, according to the report.

In January, Rio Tinto agreed to divest an aluminum smelter in Dunkirk in France to Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House, which also purchased miner's smelter in Lochaber, Scotland.

Natixis was not immediately available to comment, while Rio Tinto declined Reuters' request for comment.