Foreign fleets to the rescue as ground control falters

Jul 30, 2008 | 01:26 PM |

Aluminum heat-treat plate has seen its share of turbulence, with aircraft program delays pushing the market from its lofty heights to a lull in the latter half of last year. And while the depth of the drop wasn't quite enough to send frequent flyers reaching for a paper-bag, the once red-hot market certainly left more than a few feeling a little queasy.

Just a little more than a year ago heat-treat plate was on allocation, but setbacks to major commercial airplane programs—the Airbus SAS A380 and Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner—resulted in discounts of 5 percent to nearly 15 percent off the book value.

But that wasn't necessarily all bad. In fact, when shipments of heat-treat plate from Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood LLC, Ravenswood, W.Va., were disrupted in March due to a failure of a critical piece of equipment, several market players noted that it was advantageous timing because the market was in need of some tightening.

Now the market could be gearing up to take flight again amid rising demand for aerospace- and defense-related products, especially in emerging overseas markets.....

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