Investors Granted One More Month to Divest from Rusal

The United States Treasury Department said on Friday it was granting investors another month to divest their holdings of sanctioned Russian companies En+ and Rusal and was giving the firms more time to address their business operations, Bloomberg reports.

The U.S. in April imposed sanctions against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including aluminum exporter Rusal, citing “malign activities” by Russia.

Deripaska also held a controlling interest in EN+, which in turn controls Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer outside China.

Without the extension, the impact on the aluminum industry was set to intensify in the coming weeks as counterparties such as consumers and banks start to wind down their dealings with Rusal in anticipation of the sanctions deadline, previously set for November 12.

The move to extend the deadlines for En+ and Rusal means that the U.S. could delay the announcement of any deal until after the mid-term elections on Nov. 6. Last month, Rusal was said to have asked its customers if they could wait until after the mid-terms to sign new contracts. Any move to soften the curbs on Rusal could be politically contentious amid calls for fresh sanctions against Russia.

En+ has been discussing with the U.S. a proposal for Deripaska to cut his stake in the company to below 50 percent from 66 percent currently, and appoint a majority of independent directors to the board. Under the latest proposal, some En+ shares would be transferred to a blind trust run by a U.S. bank, according to people familiar with the matter.