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THIRD-LARGEST ALUMINUM PRODUCER, AMAX, FORESEES TIGHT MID-DECADE SUPPLY

 NEW YORK, Nov. 19 ~PRNewswire~ -- Despite current oversupply of aluminum in the marketplace, forecasts indicate tight supplies by mid-decade and a return to growing aluminum demand and firm prices. Alumax President and Chief Executive Officer, Bond Evans, predicted the up-swing in the cycle at a company-sponsored briefing today on Alumax aluminum business for securities analysts, investors and media representatives. Alumax is a wholly owned subsidiary of AMAX Inc.
 The briefing spans a day and a half. More than 50 briefing attendees Friday fly to Deschambault, Quebec to tour Alumax's newly- dedicated Lauralco primary aluminum plant, which at full production will have an annual capacity of 215,000 metric tons per year and is currently operating at about 75 percent of capacity. The plant is one of the most modern and cost-efficient in the world.
 Alumax is one of the world's principal aluminum producers and third largest in the U.S. The Georgia-based company accounts for almost two- thirds of AMAX's revenues and has more than 100 facilities in North America and Western Europe.
 Speaking at the aluminum review, in addition to Evans, was Allen Born, chairman and chief executive officer of AMAX, and the presidents of three Alumax subsidiaries, George Stoe of Alumax Mill Products, Richard Brown of Alumax Extrusions and Dale LaLonde of Kawneer Company.
 Evans noted that with the addition of the Lauralco plant, Alumax now has four primary aluminum plants in the United States and Canada and is a substantial partner in a fifth. Alumax's share of the capacity of those plants is 770,000 metric tons -- 50 percent more capacity than the company had only two years ago. Evans stressed that two-thirds of the Alumax primary plant capacity is based on low-cost hydroelectricity purchased under firm, long-term power supply contracts, helping make Alumax one of the lowest cost aluminum producers.
 Alumax has increased capacities in two of its U.S. plants -- Intalco and Eastalco -- by 7 percent each with introduction of magnetic compensation programs. "The domestic plants -- Intalco, Eastalco, and Mount Holly -- are well maintained; environmental control is excellent, and the plants will not suffer any major adverse effects from the Clean Air Act," Evans said. Alumax expects to have Lauralco, its newest plant, up to full capacity in 1993. Anode cracking problems extended the start-up of the Lauralco plant. The process problem slowed the build-up of anode inventory and plant capacity has been held to current levels to permit build-up of anode inventory. Most important to AMAX, construction on Lauralco was completed on time and under budget.
 The cornerstone of Alumax Mill Products marketing strategy, according to George Stoe, president of that unit, is based on high profit, niche products, like brazing sheet, venetian blind stock and automotive trim. He said that in the highly competitive aluminum sheet business, Mill Products enjoys much higher spreads on the products it produces than competitors garner from commodity products. Many of the products Alumax produces aren't produced by competitors because of the difficulty of production and the low volume potential, given Alumax's position. Mill Products is one of the largest and lowest-cost producers in the United States with five rolling mills with total annual capacity of 830 million pounds of coil sheet, and plate products.
 Alumax Extrusions, the nation's leading soft alloy aluminum extruder, has increased market share each year for 36 consecutive years, according to its president, Richard Brown. Extrusions' annual rate of growth has averaged 8.74 percent since 1970, compared to an industry average of 2.25 percent. The company now operates 20 extrusion presses, including a new, Alumax-designed process which produces intricate profiles with exact dimensions.
 Kawneer products are often cited by architects and builders as the standard for their specifications, said Dale LaLonde, president of the Kawneer unit. Kawneer has over 80 years experience in manufacturing and marketing engineered architectural aluminum building products and systems and now operates through 20 different companies located in North America, Western Europe and Asia.
 Evans said the company is making progress in commercializing AMAX's new semi-solid metals forging process; the company has begun marketing that process in Japan and is using it primarily in this country for manufacturing high-integrity aluminum automobile wheels and components for Ford and Chrysler.
 Evans also said that Alumax holds a commanding share of the painted and fabricated sheet products for the mobile home, RV, light commercial and agricultural markets. It also has a significant market position in value-added building products for the residential remodeling and new construction markets. In Europe, Alumax is a leader in aluminum and steel coil coating and fabricating with well-established positions in the building and transportation markets, particularly the European caravan industry.
 Evans said that 1992 has been a tough year for the aluminum industry, but that "the future is better for aluminum than perhaps for any other commodity."
 "We expect primary demand to continue a moderate growth trend that should average two percent annually for the balance of the 90s... But, remember this: moderate demand growth still equates to about one-and-a- half new Lauralco plants a year." He said that additions to Western World capacity in 1992 have been offset by some closures and reductions.
 Ever-increasing environmental concerns should help drive the demand for aluminum -- light, strong and recyclable -- even higher in the future, he said, and that bodes well for the industry.
 -0- 11~19~92
 ~CONTACT: Jerry Cooper of AMAX, 212-856-5982~
 (AMX)


CO: Alumax; Amax Inc. ST: Connecticut IN: MNG SU: ECO

AH -- NY111 -- 3169 11~19~92 18:01 EST
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Date:Nov 19, 1992
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