Corus sells aluminium unit

16th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 March 2006, AMSTERDAM — Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus is selling most of its aluminium operations to US firm Aleris for approximately EUR 728 million.

16 March 2006

AMSTERDAM — Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus is selling most of its aluminium operations to US firm Aleris for approximately EUR 728 million.

Two forges, one in the Dutch town of Delfzijl and one in Germany, are not included in the sale but will supply Aleris "on the basis of a long-term contract", Corus said on Thursday.

Corus it had signed a letter of intent with the Ohio-based aluminium products company and will sign a final agreement once "internal consultation and advice processes". Corus was formed by the merger of Dutch firm Hoogovens and British Steel in 1999.

Dutch trade union FNV Bondgenoten said the sale was unnecessary as the aluminium business is contributing positively to the company's earnings. The union is afraid the sale would prompt lay-offs.

Some 600 people work for the aluminium division in the Netherlands - 500 in Delfzijl and 100 at a research centre in IJmuiden. FNV and union 'De Unie' want Corus to guarantee their continued employment

A Dutch works council blocked Corus's plans to sell its aluminium operations to France's Pechiney for EUR 750 million in 2003. On Thursday, the works council said it would approve the sale to Aleris only if the same conditions that were set out in 2002 over a possible sale were met, Reuters reported.

Corus also released its preliminary results for 2005 on Thursday. The company booked a net profit of EUR 654 million, a 2 percent increase on 2004 when it went into the black for the first time since the merger in 1999. Sales in 2005 increased 9 percent to EUR 1.45 billion.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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