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Rio Tinto offloads aluminium assets to Norway's Hydro

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Rio Tinto Tuesday agreed to offload a bundle of European aluminium assets to Norway's Hydro as it works to streamline its operations.

[SYDNEY] Rio Tinto Tuesday agreed to offload a bundle of European aluminium assets to Norway's Hydro as it works to streamline its operations.

The global miner said a binding offer of US$345 million had been made for its ISAL smelter in Iceland and its 53.3 per cent share in the Aluchemie anode plant in the Netherlands.

The deal with the Oslo-headquartered firm also includes the Anglo-Australian giant's half share in an aluminium fluoride plant in Sweden.

Rio's aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said he expected the sale to be concluded in the second quarter of the year.

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"The binding offer for the sale of these assets provides further evidence of Rio Tinto's commitment to strengthen our business and deliver value by streamlining our portfolio," he said.

Rio, whose main commodity is iron ore, has been on a cost-cutting drive in recent times to free up additional cash flow, and has made a series of divestments, including the sale of most of its Australian coal assets.

It sold its 100 percent shareholding in Alcan Aluminium UK Limited for US$410 million to global commodities group SIMEC in 2016.

The miner posted a bumper annual net profit of US$8.76 billion in 2017, a 90 per cent jump as commodity prices strengthened.

It allowed the group to reward shareholders with a record dividend.

AFP