CRU aluminum news roundup

Written by Marziyeh Horeh

European Aluminum, EUROFER issue joint statement on Global Arrangement

On June 13, European Aluminum, together with the European Steel Association (EUROFER), issued a joint statement on the Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminum, urging EU policymakers to advance their negotiations with the United States and reach an agreement as soon as possible.

According to the statement, new policy approaches are needed in response to the persistent challenges of non-market excess capacity and decarbonization. Both associations urged policymakers to explore new trade tools and level the playing field regarding production costs to ease the pressure on both industries. At the same time, reducing carbon emissions from aluminum and steel at a global scale.

The negotiations on the Global Arrangement commenced in 2021. But both associations point out that, with elections looming on both sides of the Atlantic, both the EU and the US should not waste the progress made in the last two years and continue negotiations to clinch a meaningful arrangement as soon as possible. Moreover, a deal is critical to ultimately find a settlement to the long-standing dispute over the US’ Section 232 Tariffs.

Alcoa provides update on acquisition of Alumina Limited

Alcoa announced it has reached several key milestones in its acquisition of Alumina Limited and expects the transaction to be completed on or around Aug. 1, 2024. This is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions. The milestones include:

Alcoa filed its definitive proxy statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on June 6 and scheduled the Special Meeting of Shareholders to vote on the transaction for July 16.

Alcoa received regulatory approvals from Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) for the acquisition on May 13 and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which has indicated it does not intend to conduct a public review of the transaction.

Alumina has registered its Scheme Booklet with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and the Scheme Booklet will be sent to Alumina shareholders following orders from the Federal Court of Australia on June 7. Alumina shareholders are slated to vote on the acquisition on July 18. The Court has also ordered that a second court hearing (should the Alumina shareholder vote be successful) will take place on July 22.

The transaction remains subject to approval by both companies’ shareholders and receipt of approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. The transaction is not conditional on due diligence or financing.

Kaiser confirms closure of its Sherman extrusion plant, local media reports

According to various media reports, Kaiser Aluminum has confirmed it will close its Sherman facility in Texas after 60 years of operations by the end of June. Kaiser Aluminum representative Anne McGuinness said the decision to close was due to “business challenges” at the location. “Any impacted customers have been or are in the process of being relocated to other Kaiser facilities to continue serving them in line with Kaiser’s corporate value to be a preferred supplier,” McGuinness said. As for the company’s 75 employees, McGuinness said it is working on termination benefits.

City of Sherman Spokesperson Nate Strauch said Kaiser has been a part of the industrial landscape in Sherman for decades: “It is a little bit sad, even more sad than usual because of the longevity that they’ve had in our community,” Strauch said, before adding: “Hundreds of people over those decades have worked for them who’ve made their homes here in Sherman.”

Rio Tinto to increase majority stake in Boyne

Mitsubishi Corp. has conditionally agreed to sell its 11.65% shareholding in the 500,000 metric ton (mt) per year-plus plus Boyne Island aluminum smelter near Gladstone, Australia, to Rio Tinto. On completion of the transaction – coupled with a recent agreement to acquire Sumitomo Chemical Company’s 2.46% interest in plant operating company Boyne Smelters Ltd (BSL) – Rio Tinto’s share in BSL will increase to 73.5%. The deals are expected to be concluded in H2, subject to regulatory approval and other conditions being met.

As part of an aluminum portfolio restructuring, Mitsubishi Corp. will no longer hold stakes in smelters but will remain active in the sector via trading and investing in bauxite assets, Reuters news agency reported a spokesperson as saying. Australia-based Rio Tinto said it will work with BSL’s remaining joint-venture partners and other stakeholders to secure a competitive, low-carbon future for the Gladstone operations. The other JV members are YKK Aluminum (with 9.50%), UACJ Australia (9.29%), and Southern Cross Aluminum (7.71%).

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Marziyeh Horeh

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