Boyne Smelter Alumina, Boyne Island; Reduction Line 1.
Boyne Smelter Alumina, Boyne Island; Reduction Line 1.

Rio plans to sell Boyne Smelter

TWO of Gladstone's most important industrial facilities will soon be up for sale after an announcement by Rio Tinto Alcan yesterday.

Boyne Smelter Limited (BSL) and NRG Power Station will be divested by Rio Tinto Alcan.

The company said it would divest 13 assets globally. All the assets are in, or connected to, the aluminium sector.

Rio Tinto Alcan chief executive Jacynthe Cote said the decision was part of a strategy to concentrate on growing the strength of its "tier one" assets.

When asked whether any of the 13 assets were profitable, Ms Cote said only that she believed all 13 were strong performing facilities which would prosper under new ownership.

She said the Federal Government's carbon tax had not caused the decision to divest Australian assets, and multiple factors were behind the decision.

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said: "The assets identified for divestment are sound businesses that are well-managed with productive workforces. But they are no longer aligned with our strategy and we believe they have a bright future under new ownership."

The company is in no rush and has not set a schedule for the sale. It will wait for the best moment to sell. "The strength of our balance sheet means that we can choose the most opportune method and timing to divest these assets, which may not occur until the economic climate improves," he said.

Rio Tinto Alcan has shifted the six Australian assets into a new business unit, to be called Pacific Aluminium. They will be managed by Pacific Aluminium until they are sold.


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