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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Montenegrins Protest Closure of RusAl Plant

PODGORICA, Montenegro -- About 2,000 workers in Montenegro protested Wednesday over the possible closure of a factory owned by embattled Oleg Deripaska.

The workers of aluminum maker KAP, the biggest Montenegrin exporter, defied a police ban and gathered in front of government headquarters to put pressure on officials to make sure that the factory remains open.

Montenegro's economy, already in crisis because of the global financial meltdown, would destabilize further if the factory closes.

Deripaska, once Russia's richest man, is struggling for financial survival as his aluminum maker United Company RusAl heads into grueling talks with creditors over billions of dollars in debt.

The embattled company, one of the largest aluminum producers in the world, has until early May to reach a deal with foreign lenders to restructure $7.4 billion in loans. It owes nearly $7 billion to domestic banks.

Deripaska bought KAP in 2006, but he later sued the Montenegrin state for 330 million euros ($447 million), claiming that the government, as a former KAP owner, did not present the true economic situation of the factory when the sale was made.