SCRIBA, NY, – Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, today (Oct. 24) commissioned a $200 million expansion of its rolling operations in Oswego (Scriba). About 100 local, state and federal representatives were on hand to help Novelis officials and local employees celebrate the milestone.
The expansion increases the company’s North American capacity for producing aluminum sheet for the automotive industry by 240,000 tons, five times the company’s existing capacity in the region.
“This automotive expansion in North America is an important piece of our global strategy in a market that is experiencing explosive growth,” said Phil Martens, Novelis president and chief Executive officer. “We are aggressively increasing our capacity to produce automotive sheet worldwide and we are well-positioned to extend our leadership in this strategic market segment.”
“Today is our grand opening celebration. I am very happy to be here today. This will position Novelis strong for the future as the leader in the automotive sector for aluminum products,” Marco Palmieri, senior vice president and president, Novelis North America, told Oswego County Today prior to the ceremony.
There were many reasons for the expansion in Oswego, he said.
“This is a great plant, a great workforce. We melt, hot mill, cold mill here. It makes all the sense to have the finishing lines here; that saves costs. We have many customers in the US, it makes a lot of sense to make the investment here,” he said. “We had hundreds of contractors working this job. But now, in normal operation, we added more than 100 jobs here.”
Novelis began construction on two new high-performance aluminum processing lines for automotive applications at its Oswego facility in 2011 in response to escalating demand for automotive aluminum sheet in the United States.
“I’m excited to be here today. This is a great investment in this area,” said Scriba Legisltor Shane Broadwell. “When one of your anchor companies makes a major investment like this, it is a very big deal for us. This is a gerat re-investment by Novelis. I think it’s huge for this community. I think it’s great for Novelis, their employees, their families and the whole area.”
Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen agreed.
“Novelis is a great corporate citizen of our community. I think it is great that they are re-investing in their plant here. It’s a huge boost to our economy,” said Mayor Gillen.
The port of oswego and other logistics for transportation and marketing were some of the things that inflenced novelis’ decidion to expand in Oswego, the mayor noted.
“It means a lot to the greater Oswego area. It means jobs, good paying jobs. A lot of professionals are moving into our area. It creates a good quality of living for everyone,” he said.
Lt. Governor Robert Duffy was to speak on behalf of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. However, he was unable to attend. So Sen. Patty Ritchie congratulated Novelis on their behalf.
They were proud to have Novelis in New York State, she said.
“By investing here, Novelis has breathed new life into the economy,” she continued. “We are eternally grateful.”
Thursday’s commissioning marked an important milestone in Novelis’ ongoing commitment to serving the automotive industry, Palmieri said.
“Intensive use of aluminum in vehicles is growing more than 25 percent a year. Not only does this expansion allow us to respond to the rapidly increasing demand for aluminum automotive sheet, it also plays a key role in our ongoing recycling efforts to further improve the sustainability of aluminum in vehicles,” he added.
Novelis is the world’s leading provider of aluminum automotive sheet, used for making structural components and exterior body panels, according to Chris Smith, Oswego plant manager.
“This is an exciting day for us,” he said. “Today is a milestone for Novelis. Novelis has been a member of the community for a long time. In fact, we just marked our 50th anniversary a few weeks ago.”
He thanked all the perople “who worked tirelessly to make this a reality.”
Novelis aluminum can be found in more than 180 different vehicle models produced by leading automakers around the globe, Martens said.
The company is investing around the world to boost its automotive finishing capabilities, he said, adding that in addition to the Oswego expansion, a new plant is under construction in Changzhou, China, which is expected to commence production in mid-2014 and will have a capacity of 120,000 tons.
The company also recently certified automotive production at its Gottingen, Germany, plant that will ultimately add 40,000 tons of additional capacity.
These new locations will join the company’s existing automotive facilities in Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Sierre, Switzerland and Nachterstedt, Germany.
“When you look at what we’re doing here in Oswego it is far greater than just expansion of a plant … This is a turning point in the landscape in North America for aluminum producers as well as automotive companies, Martens said. “The facility here, from a capacity point, will be the largest in North America. We want to invest more as we move forward.”
“For Novelis and the entire industry, what you’re seeing here today is the start of a huge transisition. This is a very exciting time to be a part of our company. This is our third major corporate ceremony we’ve had within the last 90 days. We had one at our facility in South America, facilities in Asia and now here. It’s all part of a very significant global expansion,” he continued. “If you look at our sales alone, two or three years ago we sold about four or five percent of the total global sales for Novelis into the automotive sector. Now it is close to 20 to 25 percent.”
Aluminum is the sustainable choice for vehicles because of its recyclability and low weight.
The company isn’t finished with investing in the local plant Martens added.
“The Oswego site, really is, for us, one of our premier sites world-wide,” he said. “Our investments here emphasis our committment to the community. The workforce here is second to none. The bottom line here is that we are very confident that we made the right investment, not only in this plant, not only in this sector but also in our world positioning.”
By the end of the decade their goal is to have 80 percent of the content (in their automotive sector) come from recycled content. That is critical to the sustainable success of this business.
Palmieri said this marks the rebirth of the automotive industry in New York.
There is a federal goal to have the fuel efficieny of vehicles reach 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025, he pointed out.
To meet new fuel economy standards, North American auto makers are using more aluminum in cars to make them lighter and more fuel efficient.
“In the past few years, the milage has improved by 4.3 miles per gallon. Currently the average is 29.8,” Palmieri said.
“Getting there is huge by any means. It is a big job. It’s not just North America facing that challenge. We want to increase milage and not compromise safety. Consumers want more bang for the gas money.”
The new federal regulations are challenging automakers to boost the fuel economy of their vehicles to approximately 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025 and to reduce emissions.
The Novelis Oswego facility is an integrated recycling, hot rolling and cold rolling complex producing aluminum sheet for the beverage can, automotive and building and construction industries.
Producing more than a billion pounds of high-quality aluminum sheet each year, Oswego is the company’s largest, wholly-owned fabrication facility in North America.
The plant currently employs approximately 850 people.
Novelis Inc. is the global leader in aluminum rolled products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum. The company operates in nine countries, has approximately 11,000 employees and reported revenue of $9.8 billion for its 2013 fiscal year. Novelis supplies premium aluminum sheet and foil products to transportation, packaging, construction, industrial and consumer electronics markets throughout North America, Europe, Asia and South America. Novelis is a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Limited (BSE: HINDALCO), one of Asia’s largest integrated producers of aluminum and a leading copper producer. Hindalco is part of the Aditya Birla Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Mumbai, India. For more information, visit www.novelis.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Novelis.