Although a shift in production to it is possible, an official from Atlanta’s rolled aluminium firm Novelis said this week that it was not planning to add new aluminium can production capacity in the near future.
Senior vice president Roxana Molina spoke to S&P Global Platts on Monday, telling them that they would alter their manufacturing mix if the opportunities dictated.
“If we can, we can change the mix. The other thing is we need to work very diligently in our operations to increase the output of our plants which is always possible.”
The firm transitioned from automotive sheet to can sheet earlier in the year as the demand from automakers dropped due to the economic downturn. However, Molina says the firm has since returned to its previous product mix.
“For Novelis, in North America, the economics are not there to increase capacity. We have several volume mills, and we will first make our contracts that we have with our customers.”
Later that day CEO Steve Fisher echoed Molina, saying Novelis’ objective is to optimize production, not increase it.
“A greenfield investment is a difficult one because current can sheet prices in the North American marketplaces just wouldn’t support that type of a project. Right now, at least, until we see how things adjust over the next several years, we’ll be much more focused on the debottlenecking investments to meet some of that increased demand.”
Molina indicated that the scarcity in aluminium can sheet was quickly remedied via imports. Over the first nine months of this year, buyers have imported 5.1 billion aluminium can units, up from last year’s nine-month total of 1.4 billion.
Imports of aluminium cans through September have already eclipsed full-year totals for the prior two years, in both of which no more than 2 million units were imported.