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Wise Alloys plans cold mill expansion

Keywords: Tags  wise alloys, aluminum can stock, wes oberholzer, muscle shoals, joe pampinto, daniel fitzgerald, wise metals

NEW YORK — Wise Alloys LLC has announced a $59.8-million expansion at its cold mill operations in Muscle Shoals, Ala., as it seeks to boost wide aluminum can body sheet capacity at the facility.

The planned expansion will involve transferring the purchased assets of another mill to Muscle Shoals and combining them with existing equipment to create a cold mill that will produce a wider aluminum sheet at finished gauge, according to a statement from the company. A new wide slitter will also be installed to trim the sheet to finished width.

Construction will begin in September and is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014, with commercial production beginning in early 2015, Wise said.

Wes Oberholzer, executive vice president and chief operations officer of parent company Wise Metals Group, said the expansion was in response to "growing customer demand" after the company first expanded into the wide can sheet market in 2009.

"Our customers are asking for more of our wide can body sheet, and our next cold mill expansion will allow us to produce that volume," he said in a statement.

Oberholzer told AMM that the expansion of can body stock capacity will allow the mill to have a production capacity for can body, end and tab stock that is more proportionate to the typical content of an aluminum can: around 80 percent body stock and 17 percent end stock.

The "vast majority" of sheet produced at the expanded plant will stay in the North American market, he added.

Wise said it has made an application with the Shoals Economic Development Authority’s Economic Development Fund for financial assistance with the expansion, which is expected to add 35 jobs.

Wise Alloys describes itself as the nation’s third largest producer of aluminum can stock for the beverage industry.

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