NEW YORK Kaiser Aluminum
Corp. will not sell billet produced at its Kalamazoo, Mich.,
facility to any third parties next year as it needs the metal
for its own consumption, sources have told AMM.
"Most of the billet theyre
casting is for their own internal use, but they have sold small
amounts outside," one source told AMM. "Theyve
(told customers) next year they wont be able to supply
them. They had a new contract internally that they need to
fulfill next year. As a result, the production needs to stay
"They told at least one
customer, Dont count on us for supply next
year," a second source added.
"It was a decision made at a
higher level. Their hands were tied," a third source said of
Kaiser, adding that he expects the company will sell to third
parties again at some point in the future.
Kaiser declined to comment.
According to the Foothill Ranch,
Calif.-based producers last earnings report, Kaiser
shipped 18.1 million pounds of billet and other industrial
products in second-quarter 2012, up 4 percent from 17.4 million
pounds in the first quarter of 2012.
The capacity of the casthouse
could not be ascertained, but the first source estimated that
it produces between 25,000 and 50,000 tonnes (55 million to 110
million pounds) of billet annually.
464,000-square-foot plant in Kalamazoo primarily serves the
automotive and general engineering markets.
Two years ago, Kaiser announced
plans to expand the Kalamazoo plant to capitalize on growth in
automotive markets (
amm.com, Oct. 25, 2010), and the company
reiterated its bullish forecast for automotive earlier this
year on the back of manufacturers moving toward increased use
of the lightweight metal (
amm.com, July 26).
optimism for automotive rose this summer after rumors that Ford
Motor Co. is planning to build future versions of its F-150
pickup truck with a predominantly aluminum body, which would
reduce the weight of the vehicle by more than 700 pounds (
amm.com, July 27).