Alcoa permanently shutting down one Massena potline by end of September; part of company-wide cutbacks
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 3:17 pm

MASSENA -- Alcoa today announced that it will close one potline at its Massena East plant as part of a company-wide cutback of 164,000 metric tons of smelting capacity in the United States and Brazil.

An Alcoa spokeswoman says no layoffs in Massena are expected.

The world’s leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum cited low prices and a volatile market for the move, which was foreshadowed in a smelting capacity review that was announced in May.

A potline representing 40,000 metric tons at the Massena East plant will be permanently closed, the company said. It is one of three lines at the Alcoa East facility.

The other two potlines at East will continue to operate and scheduled work on a $600 million modernization project will continue, according to Alcoa-Massena spokeswoman Laurie Marr.

“We do not anticipate layoffs at this time,” Marr said. “It is our goal to minimize the impact on employees. Discussions will take place with the United Steel Workers union in the coming weeks to work out details.”

The closures and curtailments will be complete by the end of September, a news release from Alcoa said.

“We committed in May to review our global smelting capacity for possible curtailment to maintain the Company’s competitiveness,” said Bob Wilt, president of Alcoa’s Global Primary Products. “Aluminum prices, including premiums, have fallen to four-year lows and we continue to operate in an uncertain, volatile market.”

Wilt said that the company will work with stakeholders in affected communities to minimize the impact of the closures and curtailments.

To date, Alcoa has announced closures or curtailments representing 269,000 metric tons of the 460,000 metric tons placed under review in May. This includes the permanent closure of 105,000 metric tons of capacity announced earlier at Alcoa’s Baie-Comeau smelter in Canada. In addition, it permanently closed its Fusina, Italy smelter representing 44,000 metric tons that was not part of the May review.

Once the Massena and Brazil closures and curtailments are complete, Alcoa will have 16 percent, or 646,800 metric tons of smelting capacity idle.

Total restructuring-related charges for third quarter 2013 associated with these actions are expected to be between $5 and $10 million after-tax, or $0.01 per share, of which approximately 50 percent is non-cash.

Local, state and federal politicians joined Alcoa and New York Power Authority officials at the groundbreaking of Massena Alcoa East modernization project Monday. In addition to the groundbreaking, the company also presented $10 million to NYPA, for the North Country Economic Development Fund.

In July, Alcoa and New York Power Authority officials and local, state and federal politicians broke ground on a $600 million modernization and upgrade project for the Alcoa East facility.

The project was expected to retain 1,000 jobs at the facility.

The state’s commitment to supply 478 megawatts of low-cost electricity eased the way for Alcoa’s investment and modernization plans.