Dutch aluminium smelter Aldel applies for bankruptcy

LONDON Tue Jan 7, 2014 6:10am EST

LONDON Jan 7 (Reuters) - Dutch smelter Aluminium Delfzijl (Aldel) has applied for bankruptcy after failing to negotiate an energy deal, the company said on its website, the latest victim in a market plagued by oversupply and falling prices.

Aldel, bought by global industrial commodities company Klesch Group in 2009, applied for bankruptcy in a Dutch court on Dec. 30 and had expected a court decision on the same day, it said on its website.

Spokespeople for Adel and Klesch Group were not immediately available for comment.

The smelter in Groningen in the Netherlands produces more than 110,000 tonnes of new aluminium and recycles a further 50,000 tonnes of metal a year. It employs around 300 people.

Klesch said in October that the Dutch regional government of Groningen had agreed to loan Adel 7 million euros ($9.6 million) to finalise a long-term deal to connect Adel to the German power grid.

"Ultimately a solution failed to come, making a bankruptcy filing inevitable," Adel said on its website.

Aluminium production is highly energy intensive and competitive power prices are, more than ever, essential for smelters' survival. Benchmark London Metal Exchange aluminium has almost halved in price since a record high of $3,380 hit in 2008.

The market is also in surplus, although analysts polled by Reuters in October expected the oversupply to shrink to around 600,000 tonnes this year from just over 850,000 tonnes last year due to output cutbacks.

Russia's Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer by output, cut 350,000 tonnes of production capacity last year compared with the previous year and closed three smelters, with more cuts expected.

U.S.-based Alcoa, the world's second-largest producer of aluminium, has already shuttered around 13 percent of its global smelter capacity and has put another 460,000 tonnes under review.

Mining group Rio Tinto is still carrying the burden of its $38 billion takeover of Canada's Alcan, a 2007 deal which has racked up $30 billion in writedowns, with the mining group booking losses in aluminium as demand slumped and Chinese output soared.

($1 = 0.7330 euros) (Reporting by Susan Thomas; Editing by Mark Potter)