Global aluminum giant Alcoa has reduced its stake in the mammoth joint venture aluminum project in Saudi Arabia from 40 per cent to 25.1 per cent, thereby raising the stake of its partner Saudi Mining Company (Ma'aden) to 74.9 per cent from the present 60 per cent.
State-owned Ma'aden said in a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) that its decision to raise the stake would not impact the schedule and size of the project. The Saudi miner did not cite a reason for the change in ownership structure.
Ma'aden, which is engaged in the development of the country's non-oil mineral resources partnered with the world's largest aluminum producer Alcoa in December to build the $10.8 billion aluminum complex, hyped as the world's lowest-cost aluminum project. (See: Alcoa to develop world's lowest-cost aluminum complex in S Arabia)
The project was stalled in 2008 after Rio Tinto Alcan, which holds a 49-per cent stake, had pulled out of the project for lack of funds following the global credit crisis and fall in demand for the metal.
Alcoa's stake cut will reduce its investment in the project by $1.61 billion to $2.71 billion, which is expected to be filled up by the Saudi government.
The joint venture is designed to supply primary aluminum, alumina and aluminium products to the growing markets of the Middle East and beyond.