Government Ready to Support Rusal by Buying Aluminum for State Stocks: Minister

Russia’s Industry Minister Denis Manturov said on Tuesday that the government is considering helping U.S. sanctions-hit company Rusal by buying aluminum for its state stocks, Reuters reports.

Rusal, the world’s No.2 aluminum producer, and its owner, billionaire Oleg Deripaska, have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department since April this year. The measures included freezing the bulk of the company’s exports, paralyzing its supply chain and scaring off many customers.

As a result of the sanctions, global aluminum markets were significantly disrupted, despite the U.S. Treasury giving Rusal’s international customers until October 23 to wind down business with the company. En+ Group, Deripaska’s holding company, is also under sanctions.

Industry sources told Reuters in June that Rusal will take a major hit if sanctions are not lifted by late August. In July, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States was in productive talks with Rusal to remove it from the list.

Manturov, speaking to reporters in the town of Novosibirsk in Siberia, said on Tuesday that Moscow had a backup plan if sanctions against Rusal persist.

“There might be (aluminum purchases for the state stocks) but for now, there is no such need,” he said, providing no other details.

Deripaska controls 66 percent of En+ Group, which in turn controls 48 percent of Rusal. He has already accepted that he may have to cede control of En+ if both En+ and Rusal are to survive, a source familiar with the matter said in May.