Gränges and Mitsubishi Aluminium Joint Venture For North American Plant Placed In Limbo

Gränges and Mitsubishi Aluminium Joint Venture For North American Plant Placed In Limbo

A joint venture planned between Sweden’s Gränges AB and Japan’s Mitsubishi Aluminum Co., Ltd. to build a plant in North America to produce advanced aluminium materials for use in brazed automotive heat exchangers has been put on hold indefinitely.

Gränges said in a press release yesterday that “current circumstances” made the project less attractive than it was at the time it was announced last fall.

“Gränges remains strongly committed to the North American market and our current expansion plans remain on schedule. Gränges are also exploring business opportunities for advanced aluminium materials for brazed automotive heat exchangers in North America.”

Though Gränges did not delve further into the details and rationale for the decision, it seems clear that the blanket aluminium tariffs and sanctions levied upon Rusal by the Trump administration earlier this year, which led to a significant degree of turmoil for the global aluminium market, was responsible to some extent for the decision.

At the time of its announcement, Gränges and Mitsubishi expressed hope that the project was but the first of many long-term arrangements between the firms to develop and deliver specialty aluminium to the automotive industry.

The plant was intended to combine Gränges’ expertise in aluminium rolling with that of Mitsubishi Aluminium, which is among Mitsubishi Group’s core company. The firm, which was founded in 1962, specializes in aluminium, aluminium alloy mill products, and fabricated aluminium products.

Begun in 1873 in Stockholm, Sweden as Trafik AB Grängesberg-Oxelösund, Gränges AB was resurrected in 2013 as a private company specializing in rolled aluminium heat exchangers. It employs almost 1,000 employees at the present time at two plants – one in Finspång, Sweden, that opened in its present configuration in 1972, and a second in Shanghai, China, opened in 1996. The firm boasts an annual sales total of SEK10 billion (US$1.09 billion).