“The operation in Brazil will guarantee the supply of raw materials for the production of aluminum for more than 100 years. This gives the company more strength and makes us more robust. At the same time, we will transform ourselves from a European company into a leading global aluminum conglomerate, with production and market in the Americas, Australia, Europe and the Middle East ”, says Brandtzaeg.
The potential for further activities in Asia and South America has been substantially enhanced.
The fruits of long cooperation
The year 2010 started well for both Hydro and its chief executive. The contrast with the previous year could not be greater. In just one month, operations at the giant aluminum plant Qatalum in Qatar were officially started and now an overseas acquisition unprecedented in Hydro's history.
Both the opening of Qatalum and the agreement with Vale are the result of long and close cooperation.
Brandtzaeg doesn't even try to hide his immense satisfaction with the signing of the agreement, which took place in Oslo, on Sunday. He and Roger Agnelli, CEO and President of Vale, participated actively, sitting at the negotiating table during the biggest and most intense phase of negotiations.
Very demanding negotiations
"I will not deny that the negotiations reflected how much was at stake for both companies", he says. “But they were supported all the time by a trained and determined business team, and by the mutual respect that has been built up through a partnership that has been productive for both sides since 1974.
“ They were the most demanding negotiations what I've been involved in and, during the most exciting and challenging phase, it was impossible not to think about it. It was a unique opportunity, a foundation for Hydro's future development. So, it is a satisfaction that we have reached an agreement ”. & Nbsp;
Beginning of a new phase
Now, Hydro and its partnership with Vale are entering a new phase. Hydro currently owns 34% & nbsp; the capital of Alunorte, the largest and most efficient aluminum refinery in the world. It is operated by Vale, which holds 57% of the capital.
Alunorte is an important part of Vale's aluminum operations, which also includes large stakes in bauxite mines and 51% & nbsp; of the capital of Albras, the largest Brazilian aluminum plant, with a production capacity of 460 thousand tons per year. Under the terms of the agreement, all of Vale's assets in these operations will be 100% acquired by Hydro, while Vale becomes Hydro's second largest shareholder, holding 22% of its capital.
“We know what we are doing, as we have almost 40 years of cooperation with Vale. Together with the assets, we are taking on 3,600 specialized professionals for whom we have the deepest respect. Vale has operated bauxite mines, alumina refineries and aluminum plants at a level that has placed them among the best in the segment, ”he says.
Closer to our roots
Although Brazil is so far from Hydro's land and the company has not developed any mining activities in recent years, this operation gives us a chance to return to our roots. This is part of our genes and our mission: “we will create a more viable society, developing natural resources and products through innovation and efficiency”.
Hydro's value chain as an integrated aluminum production company is now about to become complete. Not that we think we have finished our development. All processes have been implemented, but we have a lot of space to develop and improve in each one of them ”.
Development with respect
”Another thing that is part of our DNA is the certainty that we will operate and develop our business with respect for nature, on whom we are totally dependent, for the people who work in the company, and for all those who, in some way , are affected by our activities. This will be even more important and more challenging when we go directly to mining operations within the sensitive forest regions. ”
Brandtzaeg emphasizes that the company will take all the lessons that Vale has learned so far very seriously.
“The company considers safety, order and good practices to be its top priorities, and they are integrated into operations. I believe that the managements of the two companies have a lot to share with each other and will establish a mutual challenge. At the same time, we have the opportunity and the duty to improve Vale's work. It is our ambition to be a technology leader in all parts of the value chain, including the refining of alumina, ”says Brandtzæg.