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Shares in Russian aluminium giant Rusal surge as US lifts sanctions

Shares in Russian aluminium giant Rusal surge as US lifts sanctions
Russian aluminum giant Rusal saw its stock jump 25 percent after the US said it is dropping sanctions against the firm after its owner, who is on the US sanctions list, reduced his stake in the company.

The Trump administration on Wednesday notified Congress of its plans to lift sanctions on two Russian firms, Rusal and EN+ Group. Both companies are owned by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, who was included in the list of sanctioned companies and individuals as part of broader US sanctions against Russia.

“Treasury sanctioned these companies because of their ownership and control by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, not for the conduct of the companies themselves,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“These companies have committed to significantly diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control.”

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On April 6, Washington imposed sanctions on the Russian businessman, and companies in which he owns stakes, citing “malign activities” by Russia. The move prompted fears of a global aluminum shortage and put upward pressure on the price.

However, the enforcement of the restrictions has been postponed to allow more time for talks with Rusal and its parent companies.

Rusal stock and En+’s global depositary receipt demonstrated significant growth at the opening of Moscow exchange on Thursday, surging 30 and 40 percent respectively, before rolling back slightly.

Deripaska himself will still remain on the sanctions list and his property in the US will remain blocked, the Treasury noted. The tycoon’s investment in En+, Rusal, or EuroSibEnergo is also frozen and he cannot obtain cash, either in return for his shares or from future dividends issued by the companies.

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Shortly after the US Treasury announcement, the London Metal Exchange said that it would lift its suspension on aluminum produced by Rusal once the measure is implemented.

“In the event of the sanctions being lifted, the LME proposes removing all previous requirements around suspension of Rusal brand metal from being delivered into LME warehouses and used in settlement,” the exchange said in a statement, as cited by Reuters.

Rusal welcomed the US Treasury decision and said that it continues to do all the necessary work to return “the company to normal operation.” However, the aluminum giant noted that there are no guarantees that the restrictions will be removed as promised.

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