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HAMBURG, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Aurubis AG, Europe’s biggest copper smelter, is in advanced negotiations to sell its flat rolled products unit to German cooper products company Wieland-Werke AG as Aurubis looks to expand into other metals besides copper.
The unit, which made about 230,000 tonnes of copper and alloyed products in the past year and employed around 1,740 people, includes production sites in Germany, the United States, the Netherlands and Finland. It also has copper processing centres in Slovakia, Italy and Britain.
Its revenue amounted to around 1.3 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in fiscal year 2016/17.
The talks also include the sale of a 50 percent shareholding in German copper products company Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk, the other 50 percent of which is already held by Wieland-Werke. About 300 people work at Schwermetall, whose revenue was around 330 million euros.
“With the sale, we would leave the strip business and further strengthen our strategic orientation towards multi-metal business,” said Aurubis CEO Juergen Schachler in a statement.
Aurubis has announced a new corporate strategy involving expansion into other metals alongside copper.
In January it said it had agreed to take 100 percent control of German copper wire and rod maker Deutsche Giessdraht by acquiring the 40 percent stake held by Chile’s Codelco.
No financial details were given of the prospective flat rolled products deal, which would need approval of competition authorities as well as Aurubis’s supervisory board, though the company said the latter viewed the plan positively in principle.
$1 = 0.8156 euros Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by David Holmes