Europe’s largest aluminium smelter announced last week the successful completion of a refinance of its financing agreement, which includes US$235 million in debt and US$60 million in hedging liabilities.
Aluminium Dunkerque Industries France SAS (formerly Liberty Industries France SAS) refinanced the debt with American Industrial Partners Capital Fund VII, L.P., whom GFG Alliance and its head Sanjeev Gupta accuse of acting in bad faith to acquire the Dunkerque aluminium smelter.
The new instrument has a five-year maturity, a lower cash-pay interest rate, and no mandatory amortization. Aluminium Dunkerque says it also provides the plant with a great deal of working capital for the plant to continue operating.
Guillaume de Goÿs, the Chief Executive Officer of Aluminium Dunkerque Industries France SAS said in a press release that the refinance was good news for the plant.
“This refinancing by AIP is welcome news, as it completely stabilizes our capital structure and provides greatly needed working capital. Among other benefits, it will allow all of the Alumimium Dunkerque companies in France to deliver their statutory audits, as required. We operate in a volatile industry, and as a result a stable financial structure is required for long term operational success.”
Amélie Hennion, Managing Director of Aluminium Dunkerque SAS, said the refinancing was a major milestone for the firm.
“This major refinancing, which AIP delivered in 22 days, along with the social bonus confirmed to the workforce this past week, starts a new chapter for Aluminium Dunkerque in its relationships with its customers, suppliers and employees, as well as the French State.”
Meanwhile, GFG Alliance filed suit against AIP last week, alleging impropriety by the firm in obtaining title to the Dunkerque aluminium smelter.
“GFG’s opinion is that AIP has unlawfully expropriated the valuable aluminium smelter, located in Dunkerque, France, belonging to GFG’s ALVANCE Aluminium business,” the firm said in a statement.
“Despite GFG providing funds to pay all liabilities owed to AIP under a financing agreement, as well as arranging offers from third party funders to refinance or purchase all relevant obligations to AIP in full, AIP nevertheless purported to exercise security rights to take control of the operating companies.”
GFG went on to say that it had previously informed AIP that it would pursue legal remedies if necessary to regain ownership of the plant.