Hundreds of jobs saved as US sanctions affecting Limerick plant lifted
The US Treasury Department tonight lifted sanctions on three firms tied to Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, including United Co. Rusal, the owner of Aughinish Alimina in Limerick.
The delisting will provide relief to the global aluminum market and for Europe.
A third of all aluminum in Europe is supplied by the Limerick refinery, one of the largest employers in the mid west.
Aughinish is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Company Rusal.
Me Deripaska, an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, will remain under U.S. sanctions, and his property will remain blocked.
But the Treasury Department is removing restrictions on Rusal, EN+ Group Plc and EuroSibEn.
The delisting ends months of uncertainty about the future of the Limerick refinery, which continued to operate at full capacity while managing the impact of supplies owing to a series of rolling reprieves.
The fate of Aughinsh was one of the top priorities for US-Ireland relations this year, resulting in a series of high profile meetings in Dublin and Washington.
Earlier this year, the directors of Aughinish Alumina, which directly employs some 450 people, warned that its status as a sanctioned entity constitutes a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern.
However the company recorded pre-tax profits of $50.6m (€44m) last year, in large part owing to the increase in the price of aluminium created by the sanctions crisis.
With additional reporting from Bloomberg