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1996 A YEAR OF CONSOLIDATION FOR ALCAN ALUMINIUM LIMITED SAYS ANNUAL REPORT

MONTREAL, March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Alcan Aluminium Limited (NYSE: AL) looks upon 1996 as a "year of consolidation," according to its 1995 Annual Report published today. "The big changes have been made," say chairman Dr. John Evans and president and CEO Jacques Bougie in reference to the previous four years of corporate restructuring at Alcan. "We are now in the fine-tuning process to build a seamless network of operations, thereby maximizing the value of our assets."

For Alcan, 1995 was a year marked by significantly higher earnings and cash generation. Measured on the basis of operating income, it was the third-best year in the Company's history -- net income before extraordinary items reached US$543 million. After accounting for the writedown of the canceled Kemano Completion Project in British Columbia, the Company reported net income of US$263 million. The Company says its 1995 profit would have been about $70 million higher had it not been for a 10-day strike at three Quebec smelters in the fourth quarter of the year.

"We are now seeing the results from our cost reduction efforts over the past four years and the implementation of revised business priorities announced in late 1993," say Evans and Bougie in their joint Message to Shareholders. Barring an economic recession, Alcan expects its performance to further improve in 1996 based on the strength of its own restructuring efforts and improved fundamentals in the aluminum industry.

During the course of 1995, Alcan made significant progress in its efforts to increase its financial flexibility by reducing debt. A debt reduction of $644 million yielded a debt-to-equity ratio of 29:7l -- a six-point improvement over the previous year.

According to the Annual Report, Alcan's program to divest of non- strategic businesses will largely be completed by mid-1996 and will have provided over $1 billion for use elsewhere in support of the Company's strategies. Divestments to date have included a range of downstream operations in the USA, the UK, Australia and Brazil.

Alcan's shipments of fabricated products, primarily rolled aluminum sheet, matched last year's record level of just under two million tonnes. When adjusted for divestments, shipments were up by more than six percent. The Annual Report attributes the gain to capacity expansions in Germany and high operating efficiencies in North American rolling mills. In Brazil, Alcan's ability to produce can stock has more than doubled and a further expansion is being planned to meet customers' requirements. The Company says these gains have made Alcan the world's largest producer of aluminium sheet.

The Report states that current strategic priorities for Alcan include continuing to reduce costs for raw materials and metal production. In the marketplace, the Company intends to exploit its strong global presence in beverage cans and other specialty sheet markets while pursuing the growth of aluminium applications in the automotive market. On the financial side, Alcan intends to continue to reduce debt so as to achieve a debt-to-equity ratio of 20:80 at the top of the business cycle and to be ready to take rapid advantage of strategic business opportunities.
 -0- 3/7/96


/CONTACT: Charles Belbin of Alcan, 514-848-8232/

(AL)

CO: Alcan Aluminium Limited ST: Quebec IN: MNG SU:

TW -- NYTH087 -- 1297 03/07/96 16:20 EST
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Date:Mar 7, 1996
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