Robust demand keeps aluminum firms humming

Updated: 2014-09-01 15:02

By Du Juan(China Daily USA)

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Demand for high-end aluminum products will continue to grow in China over the next few years due to the renewed focus on energy conservation and sustainable development, a top industry official said.

Svein Tore Holsether, chief executive officer of Sapa Group, the world's largest aluminum extrusion company based in Oslo, Norway, said his company will work closely with Chinese companies and governments to unlock the growth opportunities and will also make the necessary investments.

"Through our association with the Aluminum Corp of China, or Chinalco, we have gained several valuable insights on doing business in China and also gained opportunities to be closer to clients," said Holsether.

Sapa and Chinalco established a joint venture called Sapa Chalco Aluminum Products (Chongqing) Co Ltd in 2011.

With China fast-tracking its high-speed railway network plans, SCAP believes it has latched onto a huge growth opportunity as it is one of the few global companies that provide complete solutions ranging from research and development, production and services to rolling stock industry customers.

In December 2013, the company delivered 110 coal car profiles to CSR Corp Ltd, China's leading bullet train manufacturer.

"Aluminum demand will go up in China, as customers seek materials that are lighter and consume less energy along with higher technologies," said Holsether.

"We will focus more on the local market and invest heavily in R&D and production here."

Aluminum, as a basic raw material for most industries, plays an important role in a country's economic development.

Ren Xudong, vice-chairman of the China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association, said China's demand for aluminum products has been rising as the construction, power and auto sectors have been developing rapidly.

Electrolytic aluminum, a raw material for aluminum products manufacturing, has been facing overcapacity in recent years, and China is now the global leader in terms of output.

At the same time, Chinese companies are also making efforts to develop downstream businesses such as high-end aluminum products research and production.

Ren said the quality, technology and energy efficiency of the aluminum products made by domestic companies have improved considerably.

During the 2011-13 period, China's aluminum products export reached more than 3 million metric tons.

(China Daily USA 09/01/2014 page15)