Nigeria court strips Russia’s Rusal of Alscon aluminium plant

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Nigeria’s Supreme Court has ordered that the world’s biggest aluminium producer, Rusal, be stripped of its ownership of the country’s former state-owned aluminium processing plant.

It said the sale of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (Alscon) to the Russian company was illegal.

The judge said US-based firm BFI Group had offered double Rusal’s amount.

Rusal told Reuters the ruling was against Nigeria’s privatising agency and would not affect its ownership.

It took a controlling stake in the processing plant in 2007 and owns 85% of the shares with the rest belonging to the Nigerian government.

A parliamentary committee is currently investigating the privatisation over the last 10 years of some of Nigeria’s state assets amid suspicions of corruption and that they were undervalued when sold.

‘Key African asset’
BFI took Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the government agency which oversaw Alscon’s privatisation, to court in 2004, as Rusal’s offer of $205m (£132m) was accepted over its bid of $410m.

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