Russian Company Withdraws From Nigeria

The Rusal aluminium company of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on Friday halted production at a disputed Nigerian plant whose ownership was awarded to a US company last year.

Rusal said it was suspending operations at the Alscon smelter because the Nigerian government never followed through on a promise to provide it with sustainable gas supplies.

“Today, despite all measures undertaken by the company, Alscon does not have a reliable and continuous gas supply,” Rusal said in a statement.

“Aluminium production at the plant is deeply loss-making, which renders it impossible to fully utilise the existing capacities.”

Nigeria’s highest court had stripped Rusal of its ownership of the formerly state-run Alscon in 2012 and awarded the smelter to the US group BFI.

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Rusal disputed the decision and kept its claim on the plant. It won control of its operations in December 2006 and now owns an 85-percent stake.

The Russian giant posted a net loss of $55 million for 2012 following lacklustre demand for metal and falling prices.

It has repeatedly vowed to eliminate loss-making enterprises in a bid to make production more efficient.

The Hong Kong-listed company’s stock gained 0.49 percent to HK$4.14 on Friday.

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