May 26, 2018 / 9:58 AM / 3 months ago

Russia's Avtovaz explores alternatives to sanctions-hit Rusal

* Rusal is Avtovaz’s top aluminium supplier

* Lada cars maker has not stopped buying Rusal metal

* Rusal sanctions deadline pushed back to October

ST PETERSBURG, May 26 (Reuters) - Russian automaker Avtovaz said it will continue to buy aluminium from sanctions-hit Rusal but was looking for alternative sources in case it has to wind down business with the world’s biggest producer of the metal.

The United States announced sanctions on Rusal on April 6, preventing customers with U.S. exposure from continuing to buy Rusal’s metal. The U.S. Treasury Department later moved its deadline to Oct. 23 from June 5 and said it could lift the sanctions if Rusal’s major owner ceded control.

Avtovaz outgoing president, Nicolas Maure, said on Saturday Rusal was “by far” its biggest supplier of aluminium and it would like it to remain so.

“I know there are some actions going on to limit the effect of the sanctions to Rusal. In addition, in parallel, we also investigate the market so that we can source aluminium from other suppliers,” Maure told reporters.

“If there is no other solution we will find other sources. We heard that this situation will be clarified in coming two months. So far Rusal is delivering ... we are buying, we are paying,” Maure said.

Avtovaz, majority-owned by France’s Renault, said last month that Yves Caracatzanis would be appointed new president as of June 1, replacing Maure who will remain deputy chairman of the board. (Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Writing by Maria Kiselyova Editing by Louise Heavens)

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