Large Russian aluminum producer plans to go public

SUAL, the country's second-largest aluminum producer, aims to go public next year and is looking for financing for a $2-billion start-up, the company's President Viktor Vekselberg announced. "The question of an IPO is not about how ready we are," Vekselberg said at an American Chamber of Commerce conference. "It is purely economic. It must be done at the right time, in the right place, with the right partner." "I believe it would be optimal to do it next year, if there are no financial crises," he said.

SUAL has grand plans to improve its four existing aluminum smelters, moving over to the latest, cleaner, technology. The changeover at its Urals plant will come later this year, followed in 2003 by Kandalaksha, in the arctic Murmanskaya Oblast, SUAL officials said. The company plans to invest $80 million in mining, modernization and expansion in 2002. SUAL also intends to build a new $460-million smelter that will be able to turn out 200,000 tons of primary metal at its Irkutsk aluminum plant.

In preparation for going public, SUAL moved its four main smelters to a single share in January 2001, as well as two of three silicon producers. The SUAL group includes 12 other cable, mining and aluminum-product manufacturers.

No. 1 aluminum producer RusAl has also been considering an initial public offering. RusAl CEO Oleg Deripaska said in April that the company would float shares and issue bonds to finance new plants in two years, the St. Petersburg Times reported.


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