Rusal chairman resigns as part of deal to lift U.S. sanctions; shares jump 5 percent

FILE PHOTO: Aluminium ingots which were made at the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter are seen in this illustration taken May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/Illustration

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Aluminum giant Rusal said on Monday Jean-Pierre Thomas had resigned as chairman and director of the company as a pre-requisite for a decision by the United States to lift sanctions on the company.

Shares in Hong Kong-listed Rusal jumped more than 5 percent in early trading on Monday.

Sunday’s move by President Donald Trump’s administration ended sanctions on Rusal and other Russian firms linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite a Democratic-led push in the U.S. Congress to maintain the restrictions.

Rusal is the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, and sanctions on the company spurred demand for Chinese supplies. China’s aluminum exports jumped to a record in 2018.

In a stock exchange filing, the firm, formally known as United Company RUSAL Plc, also said Philippe Bernard Henri Mailfait had resigned as an independent non-executive director effective Jan. 26 due to other business commitments.

Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell