Russia's antitrust regulator approves deal creating world's biggest aluminum maker

Russia's anti-monopoly regulator has approved a three-way merger that would create the world's biggest aluminum producer, the Federal Antimonopoly Service said in a joint statement with the company leading the deal Wednesday.

The tie-up will see OAO Rusal, Russia's biggest aluminum producer, absorb rival Sual as well as the aluminum assets of Swiss-based commodities trader Glencore, creating a global giant with smelters and refineries across Russia and facilities on four continents.

"We have made a decision in principle to approve of the deal and within two weeks we plan to complete the paperwork related to our final conclusion," the head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service, Igor Artyemyev, said in the statement.

"This move will strengthen Russia's role as a fully fledged participant in international economic integration and encourage growth of its influence on the global market," he said.

Russian regulatory approval had been anticipated, but the deal, which was announced in October, remains to be approved by antitrust bodies in other jurisdictions including the European Union, reports AP.

Company officials have said they hope the deal will be completed by April.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rusal will issue new shares to acquire Sual, which is controlled by metals and oil tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, as well as the Glencore assets.

Sual and Glencore will hold 22 percent and 12 percent stakes respectively in the new company, a US$30 billion (Ђ23 billion) giant that will produce nearly 4 million tons of aluminum per year, or about 12 percent of global output.

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