CHICAGO Novelis Inc. has completed a $400-million expansion at its aluminum rolling mills in South Korea, the company said.
The Atlanta-based aluminum producer said the expansion of its plants in Yeongju and Ulsan, South Korea, will add 200 employees and increase its capacity in the region by more than 50 percent to approximately 1 million tonnes of aluminum sheet per year.
The expansion includes a hot-rolling finishing mill, a cold mill, a pusher furnace, a high-speed slitter and annealing furnaces. The expansion complements a recycling and casting center, also in Yeongju (amm.com, Oct. 24), which opened in October 2012.
"Asia is the largest and fastest-growing region in the world for aluminum, and this expansion allows us to maintain our leadership in this dynamic region across key markets such as beverage cans, consumer electronics and automobiles," Novelis president and chief executive officer Philip Martens said in a statement Oct. 10.
The expansion will allow Novelis to supply coils to its new automotive sheet finishing plant in Changzhou, China (amm.com, Nov. 7), which is expected to enter production in mid-2014, Novelis Asia senior vice president and president Shashi Maudgal said in a statement. It also will allow Novelis to chase business in value-added markets, such as consumer electronics, that require a high-quality surface finish, he said.
Automotive aluminum demand in Asia is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of more than 25 percent per year for the next five years as automakers look to build lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles, Novelis said. The South Korea expansion will help it meet that demand, the company said.
Novelis started expanding its aluminum rolling and recycling facilities in 2011 to meet growing Asian demand for flat-rolled, value-added products. The hot- and cold-rolling mills in South Korea began commissioning in July (amm.com, Aug. 12)