GFG Alliance has confirmed that it will launch legal action against any attempts by US private equity fund AIP to seize control of the Dunkirk aluminium smelter which is part of GFG’s ALVANCE aluminium business. GFG Executive Chairman Mr Sanjeev Gupta said “AIP have resisted all efforts by GFG to make full repayment of its debt, yet they claim GFG is in default. This is a cynical and predatory effort to try to acquire our business on the cheap. We will fight this with all of our efforts to ensure Dunkirk remains inside our international steel and aluminium group and is able to execute our long-term strategy, to the benefit of all of its stakeholders. Our employees, customers and suppliers deserve better and bolstered by our commercial deal with a market leading partner we remain committed to the reindustrialisation of France.”Earlier in the year, AIP bought out a portion of the ALVANCE debts from its previous lenders. Early discussions also took place between GFG and AIP regarding a potential future sale of these assets but these discussions were quickly ended by GFG due to certain concerns over the negotiations, and the gross under-market valuation AIP put on the business. At the same time as ending negotiations with AIP in July 2021, GFG announced a full commercial arrangement between ALVANCE and a leading international metal market business. As part of this agreement the international partner agreed to repay AIP in full and provide additional support for the ALVANCE business.Despite this development, and approaches by GFG to repay AIP the debt it held, AIP took further aggressive action to acquire Dunkirk’s mezzanine debt in the secondary debt market. GFG believes this was all part of a premeditated plan to accelerate the debt payment with a view to immediately enforcing its debt to acquire the assets on the cheap through an aggressive loan-to-own practice common in so-called “vulture” funds. This was despite the fact the funds to repay AIP had been made available since July 2021 For reasons which are now clear AIP has continued to refuse to accept repayment, third party debt purchases or third party refinancing in order to artificially manufacture an enforcement of its debt and seize the assets to try to obtain them at a substantial discount to their market value. Given GFG’s efforts to repay, repurchase or refinance the debt, AIP’s stated position that GFG is in default is incorrect. GFG will take all necessary legal measures to unwind AIP’s actions. GFG acquired the Dunkirk aluminium smelter in 2018 and integrated the business into ALVANCE creating a leading European integrated aluminium business. Since acquisition GFG has invested over a US$100m in the development of the business, protecting nearly 1,000 jobs, and increasing EBIDTA threefold.