United Company Rusal, the world’s largest producer of aluminium and alumina, has signed an agreement with French energy giant Areva, to form a 50:50 joint venture in Russia that will produce electrical equipment for aluminium smelters.


Established in Russia’s Yekaterinburg on the base of the Russian Power Engineering Company, over the next five years the JV is expected to produce and deliver US$500mn- worth of equipment for the modernisation of existing operations and expansion programmes as well as for greenfield aluminium smelters.


Commenting on the announcement, Valeriy Matvienko, UC Rusal’s head of engineering and construction division, says: “In view of UC Rusal’s many new initiatives, including energy-related projects and modernisation of the operating aluminium smelters, we need to increase supplies and after-sales service of electrical equipment. The joint venture’s products are planned to be initially supplied to the Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelter, where RA-400 and RA-500 pots are being installed, and to the Bratsk Aluminium Smelter for its modernisation. We also project that the new JV will produce rectifier stations for the Boguchanskiy and Taishet Aluminium Smelters which are under construction.”


The overall financial requirements of UC Rusal’s electrical equipment until 2011, incorporating energy-related projects and aluminium smelters under construction, including assembly and servicing, are expected to reach just under US$1bn.


UC Rusal has been collaborating successfully with Areva for more than two years. Its transmission and distribution division delivered an electricity supply system for the Khakas Aluminium Smelter. Philippe Guillemot, chairman and CEO of Areva’s T&D division, said, “UC Rusal has an impressive number of aluminium smelter expansion projects in Russia and this is a mutually beneficial, strategic and long-term partnership. Our cooperation will help provide solutions to UC Rusal’s strategic needs and provide the company’s assets with cutting-edge equipment that meets high efficiency and safety standards”.