Corus to sell aluminium plants in Germany, Netherlands

Mumbai: Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus is putting up its primary aluminium smelters in Germany and the Netherlands for sale after renegotiating electricity contracts for the plants, Corus CEO Philippe Varin said.

The German unit of Tata-owned Corus Steel, Corus Aluminium Walzprodukte, is one of the world's leading suppliers of high-quality aluminium rolled products. The company has a strong presence on the aluminium market with its highly specialised range of products. Corus Netherlands has three steel operations in the Netherlands (strips, packaging and coated products). It owns the aluminium business with plants in the Netherlands and Germany. This company generates a certain cash flow to support its business.

The units offer tailored solutions for the most varied customer requirements in aircraft and aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, tank and vessel construction, tool making and mechanical engineering.

The smelters in Delfzijl in the Netherlands and Voerde in Germany have a combined capacity to produce around 250,000 tonnes of primary aluminium annually and, including secondary production from scrap, have total output of more than 300,000 tonnes of aluminium a year.

Tata Steel, which won a bid battle for Corus in January 2007, is focused on steel, and industry analysts had expected it to sell the primary aluminium plants.

Corus reached a new power supply agreement for its Voerde aluminium plant in Germany in October 2005, saving the works from closure.

High power costs have compelled the closure of two German aluminium plants in the last two years, HAW in Hamburg and Norsk Hydro's plant in Stade. HAW has since reopened.