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August 31, 2016

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Chinese firm seals aluminum deal

A Chinese billionaire has agreed to acquire US aluminum maker Aleris Corporation for US$2.33 billion including debt, one of his companies said, the latest overseas takeover by a Chinese firm.

Zhongwang USA, an investment firm controlled by Liu Zhongtian, said in a statement it would pay US$1.11 billion in cash for Cleveland-based Aleris and take on its net debt of US$1.22 billion.

Liu is the founder and chairman of Hong Kong-listed China Zhongwang, which is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of industrial aluminum extrusion products, it said.

His net worth is estimated at US$3.1 billion by US financial publication Forbes.

“This acquisition is an international expansion to establish a complementary business foothold,” Liu was quoted as saying in the statement.

Chinese companies have been snapping up overseas assets in recent years as they try to expand their markets and as their country’s economic growth slows.

A US national security regulator has approved state-owned China National Chemical Corp’s planned US$43-billion takeover of Swiss pesticide and seed giant Syngenta, the two companies said earlier this month, in what would be by far the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm.

The deal is still subject to approval by a number of other anti-trust regulators.

The Aleris deal is intended to help the Chinese tycoon tap into the North American and European markets as the US firm has a partnership with Figeac Aero, a supplier to companies including Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier.

Aleris also has 13 production facilities throughout North America, Europe and China, according to a filing with the Hong Kong bourse by China Zhongwang on Monday.

But the aluminum industry faces serious overcapacity in China and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China warned in February that more than 60 percent of the sector has negative cash flow.


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