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Century Aluminum to buy Sebree aluminum smelter

MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) -- Century Aluminum Co. said Monday that it is buying the Sebree aluminum smelter from a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. for about $61 million in cash.

The news sent the Monterey, Calif.-based aluminum company's shares up 90 cents, or 13 percent, to $7.64 in afternoon trading.

Under the agreement, Century will buy the smelter for $61 million in cash and will receive $71 million in working capital. In addition, Rio Tinto will retain the smelter's historical environmental liabilities and will fully fund the pension plan being assumed by Century.

The Sebree smelter in Henderson County, Ky., employs over 500 people and has an annual production capacity of 205,000 metric tons of primary aluminum, Century said.

The deal is subject to certain closing conditions, including the consent of Kenergy Corp. to the assignment of the smelter's existing power contract, which will end on Jan. 31.