27. February 2018 | Industry, Technology

Hydro to acquire aluminium smelter Isal

Norsk Hydro has made a USD345 million binding offer to acquire Rio Tinto’s 100% share of Icelandic aluminium smelter Isal. The offer includes the Dutch anode facility Aluchemie and Swedish aluminium fluoride plant Alufluor. Given successful approval from the EU competition authorities, the transaction is expected to be closed in the second quarter of 2018.

Isal produces 210,000 tonnes of liquid metal and a total of 230,000 tonnes of extrusion ingot for the European building, construction and transport segments from its newly built casthouse with full ultrasonic testing capabilities. The smelter has undergone substantial upgrades in recent years, including pot relining, a new gas treatment centre and state-of-the-art casthouse.

Isal’s aluminium production is completely based on renewable power, with a long-term hydropower contract until 2036. Hydro’s aluminium production is also largely based on renewable energy. Hydro increases its total capacity in primary aluminium production to 2.4 million tonnes in 2018 and its share of production that is based on renewable energy to over 70 percent.

The transaction reinforces Hydro’s strategy of being a fully integrated aluminium company, with a solid asset base, portfolio flexibility and sustainable global operations. It will also strengthen Hydro’s position as a leading extrusion ingot supplier in Europe. “The bid demonstrates our strong belief in aluminium, which is seeing the strongest global demand growth among base metals. Having presence across the value chain is essential to create value from this growth and promote sustainable practices in our global operations,” says Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.

Hydro sees synergies with respect to technology creep, optimization of its anode portfolio and freight and handling. The Icelandic plant runs on the same technology platform as Hydro’s Husnes plant in Norway, where Hydro recently announced a re-opening and technological upgrade of the plants’ second electrolysis line.

“We see great potential in exchanging competence and technology elements between our aluminium plants. We are now running a technology pilot in Norway which aims to be the world’s most energy-efficient and climate friendly aluminium production facility. These innovations will be expanded to other Hydro facilities, and as part of Hydro, Isal will benefit from such technological spin-offs and competence,” says Hilde Merete Aasheim, head of Hydro’s Primary Metal business area.

Aluchemie is a leading European anode producer, located in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The company produces around 340,000 tonnes of anodes per year. It is currently owned by Rio Tinto (53.3%) and Hydro (46.7%).

Alufluor is a producer of high-purity aluminium fluoride, located in Helsingborg, Sweden. Aluminium fluoride is used in the primary aluminium production process. The company is currently owned by Rio Tinto (50%) and Yara International (50%).