Russian Arms Exporter Tightens Hold On Largest Titanium Producer

The state-owned company would own almost 68% of world's largest titanium producer.

The Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport plans to own almost 68% of the world's largest titanium producer, VSMPO-Avisma, after buying a supplemental stake of 26%, news agencies said Oct. 18, quoting VSMPO-Avisma's managing director.

"It has not happened yet, but it's going to happen," Vladislav Tetiukhin was quoted by Ria Novosti agency as saying. The Russian state arms group bought 41% of the shares in VSMPO-Avisma on September 12. The deal was widely anticipated as Russia tightens state control over strategic industries, especially those involving natural resources and defence.

VSMPO-Avisma is a supplier to Boeing and Airbus, the biggest manufacturers of civil aircraft in the world. The Russian group supplies about half of the titanium used by the plane makers. Titanium is a strong, lightweight metal widely used in the construction of many products from aircraft to tennis rackets.

In Tokyo, the Japanese daily Nikkei said Oct. 18 that Nippon Steel and Kobe Steel would propose titanium alloys specifically developed for automakers to be used in the production of screws, engine parts and other components.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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