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    Anti-Monopoly Service approves RusAl, Sual, Glencore merger

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    MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's anti-monopoly service has approved a merger of aluminum giants RusAl and Sual, and the alumina assets of Glencore, the service said in a joint press release with RusAl Wednesday.

    The two Russian companies and Switzerland-based Glencore signed an agreement October 9 on consolidating their assets to create the world's largest aluminum producer, United Company Russian Aluminum. The deal received the backing of RusAl and Sual shareholders toward the end of last year, and required the approval of anti-monopoly authorities.

    "We have made a decision in principle to approve the deal and we intend to complete work within two weeks to prepare our conclusion," said the head of the service, Igor Artemyev.

    The enlarged corporation is to become the new leader in the global aluminum and alumina production industry, with operations in 17 countries on five continents and more than 110,000 employees.

    "This will enhance Russia's positions as a full participant in international economic integration and strengthen its influence on world markets," Artemyev said.

    The corporation's total production capacity will be 4 million tons of aluminum and 11 million tons of alumina. The united company will command 12.5% of the global primary aluminum market and 16% of the worldwide alumina market.

    RusAl said in December that its shareholders would hold a 66% stake in United Company Russian Aluminum, Sual would hold 22% and Glencore 12%.

    Founded in March 2000 following a merger of major aluminum plants in the former Soviet Union, RusAl holds 75% of the Russian market and 10% of the international market. The company exports aluminum to 50 countries and operates in nine Russian regions and 13 countries.

    One of the world's top 10 aluminum companies, Sual has enterprises in nine Russian regions and in Ukraine, and annually mines over 5.4 million metric tons of bauxite, some 2.3 million metric tons of alumina, over 1 million tons of primary aluminum, and about 60,000 metric tons of silicon. It also manufactures aluminum products, including foil, wire, and wheel rims, and exports 80% of its production.

    Switzerland-based Glencore is an international supplier of a wide range of commodities and raw materials to industrial consumers.

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