NEW YORK Novelis Inc.
plans to break ground on a 120,000-tonne-per-year aluminum
automotive sheet manufacturing facility in Jiangsu province
later this year, the first China-based facility in the
The Atlanta-based company will
start building the plant in the third or fourth quarter, with
the aim of beginning production by the end of 2014, Steve
Fisher, Novelis chief financial officer, told
The new facility will operate an
automotive heat-treatment finishing line, and finish sheet
produced at Novelis South Korea rolling mill.
Initially, it will solely finish
sheet for the automotive industry, although Novelis might
consider entering other end markets a few years down the road,
which could include beverage cans or consumer electronics,
"We have procured enough land at
this greenfield site in China to expand in the future, but
right now were just focused on auto," Fisher said. "As we
bring the facility up, we will continue to evaluate
opportunities inside China to expand it into a more integrated
facility. (But) this finishing equipment were starting is
very much geared at automotive heat treatment."
Novelis has forecast annual
global automotive growth of 25 percent over the next five years
as auto manufacturers continue to push toward the lightweight
"This sets us up to really
distinguish ourselves as the true leader in automotive with
auto paneling and heat treatment," Fisher said.
Novelis long-term goal is
to sell all of its products made at the new Chinese facility to
local auto manufacturers, although it will serve some export
customers in the near term, he added.
"There is very much a customer
pull (in China)," Fisher said, pointing to announcements by
Jaguar Cars Ltd. and Ford Motor Co. about expanding
manufacturing bases in the country. "Our long-term goal is to
sell virtually 100 percent within China."
The site, which sits on more
than 160 acres, is located in the Changzhou National Hi-Tech
District, and is close to railroads and the Changzhou port on
the Yangtze River.
Novelis has been considering
various ways of entering Chinese markets since late last year
(AMM, Nov. 11).
The company is on target with
its previously announced $400-million expansion of its South
Korean rolling mill (AMM, May 6), Fisher said.