With sanctions finally in the rear-view mirror, Russian Federation aluminium giant U.C. Rusal said earlier this week that it has resumed shipments to buyers in the United States.
In comments made to Reuters on Monday, Rusal CEO Evgenii Nikitin said that the firm will spend much of the rest of this year working to re-sign customers it lost over the course of the previous year.
“We fulfilled all our obligations even during the period of sanctions, we did not allow ourselves a single failure,” he said. “Therefore, some of our former partners are already coming back, new partners are coming.”
“We hope that we will be able to bring back our clients toward September, the contracting period for 2020.”
Though contracts for coming years will be signed over the next several months, the lion’s share of agreements are made in the aluminium industry’s “mating season” of September. Among the firms Rusal is targeting to win back this year is Novelis Corp, the world’s foremost producer of rolled aluminium products.
“We expect to restore lost positions in all the traditional markets for the company, including Asia and America, with which difficulties arose last year. To date, we have already resumed deliveries to the American market,” explained Nikitin.
“Volumes for 2019 for most customers, including Novelis, are already contracted, but if there is a need for an increase, our partners will contact us. The same applies to customers in Japan.”
On a related matter, Nikitin said his firm was optimistic that it would strike a new deal with Glencore plc to replace an accord that expired late last year.
“Glencore is one of our big customers,” he said. “We are in negotiating positions with all clients.”
Nikitin said Rusal planned to keep production and investments level this year, projecting 3.8 million metric tons of aluminium production and US$900 million in investments by the end of 2019.