The offer is from Apollo Global Management (Apollo) and the Fonds Stratégique d’Investis-sement (FSI) but does not include Alcan’s Cable division.

Under the terms of the deal, Apollo would become the majority and managing shareholder in AEP with a 51% stake in a new holding company for AEP, with FSI holding 10%. Rio Tinto would hold a 39% stake. Rio said it would respond to the offer following consultation with the relevant employee representatives.

Alcan Engineered Products develops aluminium products for markets including aerospace, mass transportation, automotive, pack-aging, energy and building.

It has 10000 employees located in 26 countries and a commercial presence in more than 60 markets across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region.

It is organised around busin-esses dedicated to performance materials in the areas of aluminium rolled products, extru-sions and automotive structures, and international trade.

Rio Tinto has completed divestments of $10.3bn since the beginning of 2008.

•Rio Tinto’s profits for the January to June period reached a record first-half high for the firm, fuelled by Chinese demand for its iron ore. The group saw its half-year net profits more than triple to $5.8bn. This compares with $1.6bn for the same six months last year.

Its aluminium arm returned to profit, with earnings of $313M, as overall metal demand and prices continued to rise as the global economy improved.

The aluminium business had struggled since Rio purchased Canada’s Alcan for $38.1bn in October 2007, only to see metal prices then fall sharply in the second half of 2008 as the global recession took hold.