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Hydro pulls out of deal to buy Rio Tinto's Iceland smelter after approval delays

London — Norway's Hydro has withdrawn from its proposed acquisition of Rio Tinto's ISAL aluminium smelter in Iceland as well as stakes in plants in the Netherlands and Sweden, the companies said Friday.

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"Rio Tinto has been informed by Hydro that it has withdrawn its offer to acquire the ISAL smelter in Iceland, its 53.3% share in the Aluchemie anode plant in the Netherlands and its 50% share in the Aluminium fluoride plant in Sweden, announced on February 26, 2018," Rio Tinto said in a statement.

The transaction was initially expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2018.

In June, a sales and purchase agreement was signed by the two companies that was subject to approval by competition authorities, Icelandic governmental authorities and commercial parties.

However, a longer than expected competition approval process by the European Commission led Hydro to terminate the process.

"After considering alternative timelines, outcomes and developments, Hydro requested to terminate the transaction and the parties have signed a termination agreement. Hydro has withdrawn its EC competition filing," Hydro said.

"Hydro will continue to own 46.7% in Aluchemie," it said.

The ISAL smelter, located in Hafnarjordur Iceland, has a capacity of 205,000 mt/year of aluminium.

--Vicky Bakourou, vicky.bakourou@spglobal.com

--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, alisdair.bowles@spglobal.com