Bakers puts Ma’aden’s Saudi aluminium venture in the can

Bakers’ London, Riyadh and Bahrain offices are working on the tie-up with US aluminium company Alcoa. The move is part of a wider Saudi drive to ­diversify away from the oil and gas sector through investment in heavy industry and infrastructure.

The JV will develop a 77 sq km site at Ras Al Zawr on the Arabian Gulf coast of Saudi to produce aluminium cans and products for the construction industry. Ma’aden will own a 60 per cent stake and Alcoa the remainder.

Lead partner Mike Webster said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be involved in a deal that’s going to bring about the development of a whole new industry sector in the Saudi Kingdom.”
The instruction follows Bakers’ advice to Ma’aden on a $5.6bn deal with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation in June 2008 to ­establish the Ma’aden ­Phosphate Company JV. The pair also worked together on Ma’aden’s $2.46bn IPO in July 2008.

The aluminium project has been on the cards for some time and initial documentation was signed just before Christmas. Financial close is expected later this year. It is thought that this may resemble arrangements laid down on the Ma’aden Phosphate Company JV.

Shearman & Sterling partner Tom Pick advised new client Alcoa, having picked it up from previous adviser Clifford Chance, which is understood to have been conflicted out by its role advising banks.

Alcoa was also advised by its in-house team, with assistant general counsel Max Laun playing a key role.

The Ras Al Zawr site will include a bauxite mine, an alumina refinery, an aluminum smelter and a rolling mill. It is expected to open between 2013 and 2014.