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Bonnell targets auto with $17M investment

Keywords: Tags  Bonnell Aluminum, extrusions, automotive, Anne Riley

NEW YORK — Bonnell Aluminum Inc. will invest $17 million over the next 12 months to expand extrusion capabilities at its Newnan, Ga., facility, the company said Feb. 12.

The expansion will include a new extrusion press intended to serve the growing automotive and light truck segments. The press will be Bonnell’s fifth at the Newnan site, marketing manager Guy Charpentier told AMM.

"Looking at what experts are saying in terms of the growth markets, automotive offers quite a lot of opportunities out there for aluminum extrusions in general," Charpentier said. "We understand the quality requirements of these manufactures are very, very different than other markets, so it’s a specialty, and our plan is to make sure we’re doing it the right way."

Charpentier declined to comment on targeted volumes or on the expected diameter of the press, noting that the company expects to make a final decision on press size in the next two weeks. Once it finalizes those plans, Bonnell expects to break ground on the building expansion shortly, with a goal of ramping up the new press in early 2014.

"The project needs to start fairly soon in order to deliver ... by the first quarter of 2014, so we’re on a schedule right now," he said. "Now the real work starts."

Newnan-based Bonnell’s further push into the automotive sector comes at a time when one of its traditional end-use markets—residential building and construction—remains relatively weak. Last year, Bonnell, a subsidiary of Tredegar Corp., announced plans to shutter its construction-focused extrusion plant in Kentland, Ind., noting the plant had been operating at a loss for several years (, Feb. 2, 2012).

In October, Bonnell continued its drive to expand its exposure to nonconstruction end-use markets, purchasing competitor Aacoa Inc., which primarily serves the consumer durables, transportation, machinery and equipment markets (, Oct. 1).

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