Although Europe’s economy is stagnant at present, demand for rolled aluminium is strong. So said Novelis Inc.’s senior vice president and Europe president Emilio Braghi in an interview during LMEs week.
“For Europe, we’re seeing good demand in our key markets of can and automotive,” he went on. “This growth is driven by favorable material substitution trends and continued automotive and packaging mix shift towards aluminum.”
“Sustainability is driving increased demand for aluminum as our customers are working to reduce the weight, improve the recyclability and increase the recycled content of their products,” Braghi explained.
Novelis turned out over 3.1 million metric tons of flat-rolled products in its most recent fiscal year, which represented a 2 percent increase year-on-year. Already possessing a strong presence in Europe, the firm expanded in North America as well, starting up a new automotive product rolling line in upstate New York.
“While (beverage) cans remains a core product in our portfolio, automotive is our growth engine,” Braghi said. “We are in ongoing discussions with multiple OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) about their plans for future aluminum use in their vehicles.”
“Globally, we anticipate double-digit growth in the use of automotive aluminum by the end of the decade, and we are optimizing recent infrastructure investments to meet demand in Europe, North America and Asia,” he continued.
Braghi also indicated that operations at its aluminum recycling plant in Nachterstedt, Germany are on schedule. The plant is expected to produce up to 40,000 metric tons of aluminium per year from scrap.
“Ramping up of the Nachterstedt recycling center is on plan,” Braghi said.
The firm raised its scrap aluminium content in product production by twenty percent over the past five years, to 53% in the most recent fiscal year. Low prices in raw aluminium has deterred some scrap aluminium sellers from collecting the metal.
“At Novelis, we have not experienced a shortage of scrap availability,” he said.
Novelis is a subsidiary of Mumbai’s Hindalco Industries Ltd., which is itself part of Indian multinational conglomerate Aditya Birla Group. Based in Atlanta, the firm accounts for almost half of Hindalco’s consolidated revenue. The world’s largest recycler of aluminium, Novelis conducts operations in ten different countries, employs around twelve thousand people, and reported US$10 billion in revenue for the most recent fiscal year.