Alcan spin-off shares on the stock market

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Common shares of $6.2 billion aluminium rolled products firm
Novelis have begun trading today under the stock symbol NVL on the
Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), writes Anthony Fletcher.

Originally the rolled products division of Alcan​, the group filed in May 2004 to spin-off the division. Former Alcan packaging operations in Berlin, Bridgnorth, Dudelange, Göttingen, Lüdenscheid Ohle, Rogerstone and Rugles, along with operations in Asia, North and South America, are now part of the Novelis brand.

Novelis is confident of becoming a leading supplier to manufacturers of aluminium packaging, both rigid and flexible, with a product offering including laminates, coated, printed, metallised and container production.

"We are very proud to be an important part of Novelis,"​said Novelis Europe president Chris Bark-Jones. "Our excellent teams are producing world-class products for our customers in the packaging sector."

The establishment of Novelis as a separate entity comes at a critical time for the steel industry. World steel consumption is still being driven by strong Chinese demand, and this consumption has been translated into increased raw material prices and rising maritime freight costs. This, coupled to better-oriented growth perspectives in end user markets in Europe, has allowed the European steel producers to announce price increases.

But there are suggestions steel industry is likely cool down next year after the huge price increases of the past 12 months, which have helped keep profits inflated. Arcelor chief executive Guy Dollé has suggested that world steel consumption was likely to rise only three to four per cent in 2005, as against the expected eight per cent this year.

According to the Financial Times, he said it was "impossible" that price increases would match the 50 to 100 per cent rises for many grades of the metal in the past year.

Novelis will also be a partner in the Alunorf joint venture, the world's largest aluminium rolling operation in Neuss. The mills produce rolled aluminium sheet, foil and packaging products for a range of packaging markets including beverage, food, tobacco, pharmaceutical and industrial products.

Taken together, Novelis claims to operate the most technologically advanced aluminium rolling facilities in the world. The company also has the capacity to be the world's largest recycler of aluminium beverage cans.

"Novelis comes from a proud heritage,"​ said Brian Sturgell, Novelis' president and chief executive officer. "We have the world's leading technology, facilities and people in this very demanding industry and are well-positioned to deliver superior solutions to our customers and value to our shareholders."

The new company was officially formed in January 2005 following votes of approval from Alcan shareholders and board of directors. The company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on 19 January 2005. Novelis has 37 operating facilities in 12 countries and more than 13,500 employees.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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