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Since 1997, Acro has been Hydro's only aluminum producing unit in Brazil. For most of this period, Ivar Venås has played important leadership roles in the extrusion unit, which she says is one of the best managed within the company.

He has now become head of the Extrusion business unit in South America, managing production in Brazil and Argentina. The message from the two units has been quite consistent in recent years: production is going well, safety is maintained to a high standard and economic results are excellent.

"One should not expect less in Brazil," says Venås. "We are experiencing a period of high production that has shown a 40 percent growth in the market for extruded products, just in the last year. In this type of market, you only make a profit if you run the company very inefficiently. Our biggest problem is meeting demand. We are producing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is not possible to meet high demand. Within reasonable limits, we were forced to establish product rationing. "

With his Brazilian wife, Venås lives in one of the countries collectively called BRIC - Brazil, Russia, India and China. These countries are large and also populous, and have experienced significant economic growth in recent years, and may be among the greatest world powers in the future.

"Many people still see Brazil as a developing country," he reflects. "However, this is only partly true." There is a lot of poverty in this immense country, the fifth largest country in the world in terms of territorial extent. Even thus, poverty among the 190 million Brazilians is only part of the picture. The middle class is large, and growing by leaps and bounds. Vehicles and other luxury goods are produced here and sold in large quantities, while the construction industry civil society is in full swing. In addition, the country has a significant group of people who would be considered very wealthy, using any benchmark. This is all creating a market that is going to get big.

In the machining department at the extrusion unit in Itu, a “small town” with about 200 thousand people close to São Paulo, aluminum is being cut, drilled and stamped at an incredible speed. A large part of these products are used by the large automobile industry in Brazil. Here are made stirrups for sports vehicles (SUVs), frames for pickup trucks, frames for platforms and much more. Equipment is also produced for the home appliance and electronics industries, and a wide variety of products for civil construction.
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"In Brazil, more than half of the production of bars goes to the industry construction industry. In Argentina, it rises 70 percent. In addition, car manufacturers are important customers, "says Venås.

Hydro supplies its own construction systems, both in Argentina and in Brazil - an important area within a rapidly growing market.

“We see great opportunities for development here, in the future,” he emphasizes.

In the fall, Acro's 450 employees are about to join thousands of new colleagues in bauxite mining, alumina refining and steelmaking operations in the far north of Brazil.

Optimism increased even further after it was announced that Hydro was buying Vale's aluminum unit in the Brazilian Amazon region.

“Yes, bauxite and alumina are at opposite ends of the value chain. As a result, it can be said that aluminum is extracted, refined, placed on the market, and also recycled, all here in Brazil. We have our redevelopment unit at Acro. Thus, the integration of Vale's aluminum production unit is also very good for us. It makes Hydro one of the main players in the Brazilian aluminum industry. We seek to ensure that this will also benefit our activities, ”he said.

This text is machine translated. To view the original Portuguese text, click on PT on the top right of this window

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