British-Indian steel tycoon seals financing pact to acquire Europe's largest aluminium smelter

New Delhi/London, Nov 9 (PTI) UK-based Liberty Steel, which is part of Indian-origin business tycoon Sanjeev Gupta's global GFG Alliance, on Friday announced that it has entered into a committed financing agreement with a syndicate of major international banks for buying Aluminium Dunkerque, the Europe's largest aluminium smelter, from Rio Tinto.Without divulging the names of the banks, the company said the term loan secured on standard financial terms provides five-year committed funds. The pact now clears the way for the deal, on the 560-worker site in France, to be formally completed before the end of November following the completion of closing mechanics."I am very pleased to have completed this committed facility with a broad range of leading banks allowing Liberty to complete this landmark transaction," Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance."It allows us to press ahead with our plans to develop Dunkerque, to expand production and create added-value downstream operations. This agreement underlines the support of the banking community for GFGs vision for economic and environmental sustainability," he said.Friday's announcement follows extensive talks over recent months aimed at securing French government approvals, long-term power price contracts and robust measures to protect the business in the face of aluminium market turbulence arising in part from the US sanctions against Rusal and the closure of a major alumina refinery in Brazil, the Liberty Steel said.After completion, the company said, it intends to make substantial investments in the flagship plant, making it the cornerstone of a major integrated manufacturing business, producing metals and components for the automotive and other growing industries in France. As part of this, Liberty recently acquired the aluminium wheels factory at Chateauroux in central France.The London-headquartered GFG Alliance is a global group of energy, mining, metals, engineering, logistics, infrastructure, financial services and education businesses. It group has a presence in around 30 countries worldwide. PTI SID/AK MKJ SCYSCY