The NOK 300 million investment covers the new extrusion press, including installation, building and construction, and auxiliary equipment. Hydro already has three presses at the plant in Itú, near São Paulo, with one of the three dedicated to heat transfer components and solutions. The other two are used to serve general extrusion customers.
The new press will be the largest of the three operated by Hydro's extrusion company in Brazil. The size of the press will enable the company to broaden its product range and supply longer and larger aluminium profiles, mainly to the transportation segment.
The investment is expected to be completed, with the press operating, by January 2013.
"We have big ambitions – just like our customers – and the new press will bring us forward," says Ivar Venås, who leads Hydro's extrusion activities in South America.
"We have a strong customer base and a very good image in the market. The investment can help us become stronger in both aspects."
He says there is "ample room" to increase the use of aluminium extrusions in Brazil, where annual per capita consumption is less than half the figure in the United States. It is very satisfactory to be able to announce such an important investment just a few months after Hydro expanded its operations in Brazil with bauxite, alumina and metal assets.
In line with strategy
The investment is also in line with Hydro's downstream strategy, says executive vice president Hans-Joachim Kock, who is responsible for the company's worldwide extruded products operations.
"We are emphasizing greater development in the emerging markets in South America and Asia," says Kock, pointing out that Hydro recently approved the addition of two new presses at its plant in China.
The Brazilian plant, known as Hydro Alumínio Acro, was acquired by Hydro in 1997. The company has approximately 330 employees. Hydro also has the precision tubing operation, which handles heat transfer applications, and a remelting facility at the Itú site.