London — London-based metals and energy group GFG Alliance plans to boost its aluminum production capacity to at least 1 million mt/year within the next two years via acquisitions, Executive Chairman and CEO Sanjeev Gupta told the London Metals Exchange (LME) Seminar Oct 19.
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This would be up from the group's current capacity of almost 600,000 mt/year of aluminum production, Gupta told delegates at the virtual event.
"We're targeting more acquisitions," he said. "Aluminum will play a vital role in the transition to a sustainable world, by reducing the weight in electric cars, for example: we see growing demand ahead."
Gupta did not say where further expansions might take place, but indicated they would be in Europe. GFG's current aluminum capacity is focused on Europe, where earlier this year it consolidated its recent aluminum acquisitions -- including Europe's biggest aluminum smelter at Dunkirk, the Lochaber smelter in Scotland and the Duffel rolling mill in Belgium -- together in its Alvance subsidiary, headquartered in Paris.
"We have to reduce aluminium's carbon footprint dramatically," Gupta said. "In aluminium as with steel, this is an area where Europe can lead...now is the time to create a low carbon aluminium industry right here in Europe."
Europe's aluminum consumption has risen 7% over the last 15 years but production in the region has fallen 20% over the same period, Gupta noted. The shortfall has been made up mainly by imports from China, where the aluminum industry uses a lot of coal and "has a huge carbon footprint," he said.
GFG's SIMEC energy subsidiary earlier this month announced it is making a major renewable energy investment in northwest Spain, in a 1.2 GW solar and wind power facility to be completed in 2023, and which may facilitate the group's entry into energy intensive industrial production in Spain.
The group has also been involved in talks for a potential acquisition of US aluminum giant Alcoa's troubled San Ciprian smelter in Galicia, northwest Spain, which has been plagued by high electricity prices: however no agreement had been reached by the end-September deadline for talks to be concluded and Alcoa has announced this smelter will close.
Sources close to GFG have nonetheless indicated the group may still be interested in taking over the 228,000 mt San Ciprian smelter.