UPDATE 1-Bahrain's Alba hires BNP Paribas for $2.5 bln expansion options
(Adds details, background)
ABU DHABI, July 23 (Reuters) - Aluminium Bahrain BSC , which owns the world's fourth-largest aluminium smelter, said on Monday it hired BNP Paribas to advise on financing options for a proposed $2.5 billion expansion plan to add a sixth production line.
Alba has said the new line - which will add 400,000 tonnes annual capacity to its current production of 881,000 tonnes a year - could be completed by early 2015.
A project feasibility study is expected to start at the end of the year, the Bahraini firm said in a statement, adding it choose BNP for its "strong presence in Bahrain along with extensive experience with the aluminium sector."
Alba's last major expansion took place in 2005 when it added a fifth potline at a cost of $1.7 billion.
Bahrain's state-run energy supplier raised Alba's gas supply costs by $0.75 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) to $2.25/mmbtu on January 1, but Alba still enjoys cheaper fuel than its competitors outside the Gulf. (Reporting by Maha El-Dahan; Editing by Amran Abocar)
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