The beleaguered producer accounted for 10% of Germany's total aluminium output of 1.06Mt in 2011 but is suffering from Germany's high electric power costs, which are 50% higher than in France, Spain or Scandinavia.

Earlier this year, Aleris purchased Voerde's casthouse and buyers are being sought for the company's electrolysis and anode production units.

Whoever emerges as the buyer, they will benefit from an environment tax exemption offered to all heavy industry in Germany.