By Joe Deaux

  • U.S. firm Braidy commits to buy all its aluminum from Rusal
  • Braidy, whose CEO backed U.S. metal tariffs, will pay 10% levy

Just months after being freed from U.S. sanctions, Russia’s largest aluminum maker plans to invest in a new aluminum rolling mill in Kentucky.

United Co. Rusal, controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska until the U.S. Treasury forced him to reduce his stake earlier this year, intends to invest up to $200 million in the plant being built by closely held Braidy Industries. Rusal will also supply the mill with unfinished aluminum from plants in Siberia.

The Kentucky mill will sell rolled aluminum to the American auto industry, giving Rusal a better foothold as carmakers use more of the lightweight metal to improve fuel efficiency. The investment also demonstrates Rusal’s confidence the sanctions crisis is firmly in the past, but by acquiring a major U.S. asset the company gives the government potential leverage should it fall under scrutiny again.