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UC Rusal goes to International court of Arbitration

by Business News Report

A Russian firm has dragged the Federal Government to the International Court of Arbitration, London, over the ownership of the Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) at Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom. UC Rusal, the Russian firm that bid for ALSCON under the privatisation programme, is seeking the court of arbitration to prevent the Federal Government from executing a Supreme Court judgment on the ownership of the smelting plant.
The apex court had on July 7 ruled that BFI Group, the Nigerian-American consortium that emerged the preferred bidder for ALSCON in 2004, and was disqualified in controversial circumstances by BPE, was the valid winner of the bid. A statement by the Russian Aluminum group on Friday, said that UC Rusal remained the owner of the smelter plant. The statement signed by UC Rusal’s Head of Public Relations, Ms Elena Morenko, said the Russian firm was prepared to defend its right of ownership of 85 per cent stake in the plant.
“RUSAL wishes to confirm that RUSAL, through its subsidiary is the legal owner of ALSCON. RUSAL’s legal ownership of the plant’s shares has not been affected by any litigation. No member of the RUSAL Group is or has been a respondent in any case affecting the ownership of ALSCON. RUSAL is, however, fully prepared to defend its rights to the smelter, including in legal proceedings. Toward this end, a member of the RUSAL group commenced proceedings in the London Court of International Arbitration where it seeks an order prohibiting the Federal Government of Nigeria from executing the decision of the Supreme Court to its detriment.
“Alternatively, the court should grant damages in the event that RUSAL should suffer a loss to its ownership of the stake in ALSCON,’’ the firm stated. It will be recalled that UC RUSAL took over the plant in 2006 with a bid of 250 million dollars and restarted production in 2008. The firm also explained that gas supply constraints and dredging of the Imo River remained its greatest constraints to running the plant at its 198,000 tonnes installed capacity of aluminum per annum.

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