LONDON Norsk Hydro ASA has signed a cooperation agreement with Kobe Steel Ltd.s aluminum arm on aluminum sheet technology for vehicle closure panels and structures in an effort to provide consistent-quality aluminum sheet or coil to automakers in Asia and Europe.
"To accommodate this procurement policy in the best possible way, we are allying in technological know-how with Kobe as an optimal partner," Pascal Wagner, head of Hydros lithography, automotive and heat exchanger business unit, said in a statement. "They have a strong position in serving automotive production facilities in Asia, while we are a major supplier of rolled aluminum products to automotive customers in Europe."
The cooperation will include the exchange of technical information, licensing of intellectual property and know-how, and technical assistance through individual agreements, Hydro said.
"The cooperation with Kobe is strengthening our industry position in the area of special products while helping our automotive customers to secure global sourcing of premium-quality aluminum sheet," head of Hydros Rolled Products Oliver Bell said in a statement.
Hydro last October combined all of its aluminum profiles, building systems and tubing businesses with those of Orkla ASA, owner of Sapa Group, into a 50/50 joint venture in a deal that was approved by the European Commission last month (amm.com, May 13).
Kobe Steel supplies aluminum coil and sheet mainly to Japanese automakers, but plans to increase sales to European and North American producers. Last month it announced it had broken ground on a $66-million expansion at its facility in Bowling Green, Ky., to boost its offerings to the automotive sector (amm.com, May 16).
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.