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China Zhongwang buys Australian aluminium superyacht builder

[HONG KONG] China Zhongwang Holdings said on Thursday it had acquired a controlling stake in an Australian all-aluminium superyacht builder, as the Chinese firm aims to expand the application of aluminium in the marine sector.

China Zhongwang, the world's second-largest aluminium extruder, said the purchase of a controlling stake in Perth-based Silver Yachts would advance the Chinese firm's aluminium deep-processing strategy to the marine sector.

It gave no details on the value of the deal and the size of the stake it held in the Australian shipyard, which designs and builds large-sized, all-aluminum, high-performance superyachts.

Silver Yachts' founder Guido Alexander Krass and yacht designer Espen Oino "will continue to lead Silver Yachts'development after the acquisition, and its day-to-day operations will remain unchanged," Zhongwang said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

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In September, China Zhongwang announced that it had bought a controlling stake in a German aluminium extrusion firm that mainly supplies aircraft manufacturers.

Zhongwang's chairman, aluminium tycoon Liu Zhongtian, is still locked in discussions with a much bigger acquisition target, US aluminium products maker Aleris Corp .

But the proposed US$2.33 billion purchase of Aleris by Zhongwang USA, an investment firm majority-owned by Mr Liu, has faced opposition from US senators, while the US Department of Justice has accused Mr Liu of smuggling. Mr Liu has denied the claims.

REUTERS