Novelis Shares Rise on Talks to Sell Company

The shares of aluminum products maker Novelis soared on Friday after it said it was in talks with various parties about the potential sale of the company.

It said there could be no assurance about the timing or completion of any agreement.

Last month, Novelis said that, as a result of ceilings on some of its contracts, it had not been able to pass on $350 million of metals price increases to customers in the first nine months of 2006.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had requested the disclosure, the company said.

It believed it would be unable to pass on an additional $130 million in the fourth quarter.

Novelis said that, based on market aluminum prices, it will be unable to pass on $230 million to $255 million in 2007 and $380 to $430 million in total after 2007.

The company said that, under the scenarios described above, the impact of the ceilings would not cause it to default on its credit facility or senior notes.

Novelis fired its chief executive in August after warning that profits would shrink because of soaring metal costs. In December, the company said it was looking ultimately to get rid of the aluminum price ceilings in its contracts.

On Dec. 29, Novelis named Edward Blechschmidt acting chief executive, effective Jan. 2. Blechschmidt, a board member, succeeded Chairman William Monahan, who had also been nterim chief executive officer since August.

The shares of Atlanta-based Novelis, which was spun-off from Canadian aluminum giant Alcan, gained $3.99, or 13%, before being halted for news pending. The stock resumed trading in the early afternoon.