Russian metal giant EN + Group, the ultimate owner of the Alumina Aughinish refinery in Limerick, is “revisiting its strategy” for its business in Russia.
The London-listed group, partly owned by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, made the announcement as Britain, the US and the EU weigh more sanctions against Russia for its escalating war in Ukraine.
EN+ said it was considering the possibility of ‘cutting off’ its Russian subsidiary, Rusal, which operates the Aughinish Alumina plant in Askeaton.
“The team confirmed that it is currently reviewing its strategy for Rusal,” EN+ said in a statement Monday morning, in response to a Bloomberg News story.
“Options under consideration include the possibility of redressing Rusal’s international business.
“The team wishes to emphasize that the strategic review is at a preliminary stage and that any future course of action will be subject to further review as well as discussions with relevant regulators and key stakeholders.”
EN+ and Rusal were targeted by US sanctions in 2018 but escaped criticism after Mr Deripaska divested himself of most of his stake in the two companies.
Mr. Deripaska currently holds 44.95pc of shares in EN+.
A 21.37pc stake belongs to the group itself, while British-Swiss mining giant Glencore owns a 10.55pc stake. Last week, Glencore said it was reviewing its equity in the group.
EN+ has a controlling stake of 56.88pc in Rusal.
European officials last year told their American counterparts that Mr Deripaska, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, continued to control Rusal on a daily basis, in violation of the 2018 sanctions agreement.
Mr Deripaska again called for peace between Russia and Ukraine, telling his followers on the social media app Telegram on Monday that “we have long since passed the point of no return”.
Last week, he used Telegram to highlight the dangers of a nuclear incident in Europe, after Russia opened fire and took over Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Aughinish Alumina is Europe’s largest alumina refinery and accounts for most of Rusal’s alumina production.
Last year, the company received quick approval for a plan to expand a large factory near Foynes, Co Limerick, as a project of “strategic importance”.
The EU also recently provided funding for the installation of a 25 megawatt high-pressure electric boiler to replace the current gas-fired boilers used to produce alumina.
Alumina, the main ingredient in aluminum, is produced by milling and heating bauxite ore.
Metals, including aluminum, were exempted from sanctions last week because many metals are in short supply. Prices of aluminum, nickel and palladium have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/aughinish-alumina-owner-reviewing-russian-subsidiary-41420865.html Aughinish owner Alumina ‘considers’ Russian subsidiary