Novelis completes expansion in Korea

Novelis, an aluminium rolling and recycling specialist, has announced the completion of a two-year, $400 million expansion programme in South Korea. The expansion of its Yeongju and Ulsan plants increases the company’s production capacity in the region by more than 50% to approximately one million metric tons of aluminium sheet per year.

“Investing further in Korea has been a key element in the company’s global strategy,” says Phil Martens, president and CEO of Novelis. “Asia is the largest and fastest growing region in the world for aluminium, and this expansion allows us to maintain our leadership in this dynamic region across key markets such as beverage cans, consumer electronics and automobiles.”

Novelis began the expansion of its aluminium rolling and recycling facilities in 2011 to meet rising demand for flat rolled aluminium in high value-added products in the Asian market. The expansion includes a hot rolling finishing mill, cold rolling mill, pusher furnace, high-speed slitter, annealing furnaces, in addition to the previously commissioned fully-integrated recycling centre at Yeongju.

“The expansion enables Novelis to expand into new markets within the region,” comments Shashi Maudgal, president, Novelis Asia. “We can now supply coils to our new automotive sheet finishing plant in Changzhou, China, which is expected to commence production in mid-2014. Furthermore, we can now pursue new business opportunities in high value-added markets like consumer electronics where a high-quality surface finish is required.”

The demand for aluminium in the Asian automotive market is expected to exceed the 25% compound annual growth rate projected globally over the next five years, as more auto manufacturers move to build lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The company’s expansion in South Korea will help it meet this rapidly growing market.

Novelis opened its new aluminium recycling and casting centre at its Yeongju facility in October 2012. This new operation is the largest aluminium beverage can recycling center in Asia, with the capacity to produce 265,000 tons of sheet ingot. The Yeongju Recycling Center is one of a series of recycling and casting expansion projects launched by Novelis over the past two years to increase its recycling and casting capacity to 2.1 million tons globally by 2015.

Novelis has a regional headquarters office in Seoul, operates four plants in South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam and will commission its new Chinese facility in 2014. Currently, Novelis employs approximately 1,800 people in the region including 200 new staff added as part of this expansion.

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