Swedish rolled aluminium firm Gränges AB said on Thursday that the Salisbury, North Carolina plant has been reopened and the upgrade of its Newport, Arkansas plant has resumed thanks to a rise in aluminium demand in recent months.
The firm’s CEO Johan Menckel told investors on an earnings call that upgrades to the 20 thousand metric tons per annum Newport plant would be finished by the spring. Upon completion of upgrades the plant’s new capacity will supply the light-gauge foil market, especially that of food and medical products.
“We know that the light-gauge foil market was undersupplied in US. Due to COVID-19 and related changes in consumer behavior, demand has increased further as purchases of ready-made food and pharmaceuticals have increased.”
He went on to say that demand for the automotive sector were better in the third quarter, noting that production declines were less this year than last.
“The summer season in the US has been unusually long and warm this year, which has a positive impact on sales of air conditioning units, and as many people are now working from home because of COVID-19, there is an increased need for better indoor climate. When looking at Gränges’ sales volume development during the third quarter, we can clearly see the impact of the strong HVAC market and the start of the recovery of the automotive market.”
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 1,800 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 a total nameplate capacity of 420 thousand metric tons per annum and an annual sales total of SEK13 billion (US$1.35 billion).