No impact on Fort smelter jobs from aluminium changes says GFG

SMELTER HANDOVER 19/12/16 New signage. PICTURE IAIN FERGUSON, THE WRITE IMAGE

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GFG Alliance has given a categorical assurance there will be no negative impact on local jobs at the Lochaber smelter in Fort William as a result of the company’s consolidation of all its aluminium businesses into a single group to be headquartered in Paris.

Last week, Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of GFG Alliance announced the creation of what he called a ‘new global low carbon aluminium champion’.

The move follows the consolidation of the GFG Alliance’s steel businesses into a single global entity, Liberty Steel Group, in October last year.

The new aluminium group, to be known as Alvance Aluminium Group, will be headquartered in the French capital and will bring together all of GFG Alliance’s assets across the aluminium supply chain – from raw materials through to finished components.

Mr Gupta has also revealed that he is extending GFG Alliance’s carbon neutral 2030 (CN30) programme to Alvance. GFG subsidiary Liberty announced a commitment to make its Liberty steel business carbon neutral by 2030 back in October.

As well as the Lochaber smelter, Alvance’s portfolio includes Europe’s largest aluminium smelter in Dunkerque, France’s only manufacturer of aluminium wheels in Chateauroux and engine cast part producers Alvance Aluminium Technologies and Cast Products in Poitou.

Alvance  has also conditionally agreed to acquire Belgium’s Duffel aluminium rolling facilities.

Mr Gupta commented: ‘The creation of Alvance highlights the global nature
of our ambitions. We’ve made huge progress in both consolidating our steel network worldwide and delivering higher value-added products to our consumers.

‘Alvance now aims to establish itself as a champion for Green Aluminium. Extending our CN30 target to this part of the business is both a logical and necessary step in its development.

‘Given the rise in customer demand for stronger, lighter-weight, recyclable materials, we see aluminium as a key opportunity for growth and sustainable profitability.

‘However, we operate in an international market that’s both cyclical and under competitive pressure, and so by combining our businesses, we’re looking to achieve greater synergies, increase efficiencies and ensure the business is fit to meet the challenges ahead.

‘In Scotland, we are seeking to extend Alvance’s aluminium investments in Fort William.’

Asked what all this means for the Lochaber smelter, now rechristened from British Liberty Aluminium to Alvance British Aluminium, a GFG spokesperson told the Lochaber Times: ‘With regards to the formation of Alvance, reporting lines and business activities at the Lochaber smelter will remain the same.

‘This is intended to bring GFG’s aluminium business units across France and Scotland closer together, drive synergies across all the units and enable the Alvance management team to work effectively towards our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. No job reductions at all to come from this.’

The news has been welcomed by Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford
who commented: ‘As a large employer in the Fort William area, the progress being made here is very encouraging.

‘There is a great importance in implementing and learning from a downstream production model and we will benefit from that here in the Highlands.

‘The ambitious and attainable commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030 is also a key target that I look forward to seeing achieved.’

 

CAPTION:

The Lochaber smelter, pictured, is now operated under the Alvance British Aluminium banner in a switch from the Liberty branding.

PHOTOGRAPH: IAIN FERGUSON, THE WRITE IMAGE.

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