Novelis' Train Keeps Chugging Toward More Auto-Grade Aluminum Production

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The auto way to go: world’s largest recycler of aluminum Novelis Inc. isn’t stopping its bullishness on the auto sector.

It’s already the world’s largest aluminum recycler, but Novelis’ appetite is not satiated yet.

A unit of India’s Hindalco Industries, part of the Aditya Birla Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Mumbai, India, Novelis has embarked on an aggressive global expansion plan to provide, as it says, “high-value, low-carbon products in the beverage cans and automotive sectors.”

In fact, just last week, the company made headlines when it announced that it would build two new finishing lines at plants in the US and Germany to produce aluminum sheet for the automotive industry. Novelis will pump in US $205 million to build the two lines, each with a capacity of 120,000 tons a year. The lines, to be commissioned in late 2015, will be located in Oswego, New York, and Nachterstedt, Germany.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Aluminum market.

This would be Novelis’ third automotive aluminum finishing line at its Oswego operation. The company’s focus here is slowly shifting from mostly beverage can aluminum rolling to automotive, and the aluminum can rolling plant may shift primarily to the Russellville, Kentucky, plant.

How Far Do Novelis’ Operations Reach?

The expansion will step up the company’s North American automotive-sheet capacity to more than 400,000 tons in just two years. The company said when complete, the Oswego facility will allocate 80 percent of its total capacity to serving the automotive market.

In January this year, Novelis announced its first aluminum manufacturing plant in Changzhou, China. The US $100 million investment is designed to meet the rapidly growing demand for rolled aluminum used in the design of a new generation of lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The project is expected to start mid-2014.

The company also has a sizeable presence in Germany. It recently certified automotive production at its Gottingen, Germany, plant to complement its existing automotive facilities in Kingston, Ontario; Sierre, Switzerland; and Nachterstedt, Germany.

OK, so Novelis is expanding. Coming up: how does Big Steel feel about it?

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Aluminum market.

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