The kinetics of transformation of the melt spun Al87Ni7Nd3Cu3 alloy was analysed by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and neutron diffraction (ND) experiments. The study of the emerging nanocrystalline grained structure by in situ heat treatment on quenched ribbons of the aluminium rich alloy composition indicates that no detectable nanocrystallisation occurs till temperatures of about 370 K. Changes of the structure occur in two well defined and not overlapped temperature ranges. The thermodynamic optimisation of the Al-rich part of the Al-Ni-Nd-Cu system, by computing calculation of the equilibrium and metastable phase diagrams, is applied to the kinetics of the crystallisation of the face-centered-cubic (fcc)-(Al) for the Al87Ni7Nd3Cu3 alloy. The fcc-(Al) precipitation occurs in a temperature interval of ∼200 K, although the most rapid structural changes occur at temperatures around 380 K. These results are indicative of the diffusion control of the last stages of the first crystallisation event. Eutectic precipitation of fcc-(Al) + Al3Ni is promoted when temperature is about 520 K. The overall analysis shows that primary fcc-(Al) crystallisation is kinetically hidden. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.