Russia's Rusal shuts down Nadvoitsky plant due to U.S. sanctions

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Rusal 0486.HK, the world's largest aluminum producer outside China, has started shutting down production at one of its smaller plants as a result of U.S. sanctions on the company, Rusal representatives said on Monday.

Operations at the Nadvoitsky aluminum smelter in Russia’s Karelia region cannot continue as the plant lost access to its end market and to a steady supply of raw materials ever since Washington imposed sanctions on Rusal on April 6, the company said.

Under the sanctions, designed to punish Moscow for its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, U.S. customers must wind down business with Rusal by Oct. 23.

Production at the Nadvoitsky plant was completely oriented towards the U.S. market, Rusal said.

“As a result, since April 2018, Nadvoitsky has been sending all of its production to stock, generating significant losses,” a company representative said in a comment to Reuters.

“Rusal was forced in August to begin closing down electrolysis pots at Nadvoitsky,” Rusal said.

The plant has a workforce of 343 people and is the primary source of employment in the town of Nadvoitsy, which lies 485 km north of St Petersburg, according to data from the state Monotown Development Foundation.

“Employees of the plant will not suffer despite (the shutdown), as the company will take an individual approach staff job placement,” Rusal said, adding that employees will either be offered jobs at a different company, assisted with finding work in other parts of the country, or provided with a pay-out agreed by both sides.

“The company ... will provide each person with the opportunity to remain employed, primarily as part of the project to reprofile Nadvoitsky and create profitable businesses using the plant’s infrastructure,” Rusal said.

Reporting by Polina Ivanova and Diana Asonova; Editing by David Evans