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Alcoa logo designed by Saul Bass in 1963
|Founded||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. (1888)|
|Founder(s)||Charles Martin Hall|
|Headquarters||Lever House, Midtown Manhattan, New York City
(Operational base in Pittsburgh)
|Key people||Klaus Kleinfeld
(Chairman and CEO)
|Products||Aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina|
|Revenue||$ 25.9 billion (FY 2011)|
|Operating income||$ 1.06 billion (FY 2011)|
|Net income||$ 611 million (FY 2011)|
|Total assets||$ 40.1 billion (FY 2011)|
|Total equity||$ 17.1 billion (FY 2011)|
|Employees||61,000 (December 2011)|
Alcoa Inc. (from Aluminum Company of America) is the world's third largest producer of aluminum, behind Rio Tinto Alcan and Rusal, with corporate headquarters in New York City. From its operational base in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States, Alcoa conducts operations in 31 countries. Alcoa is a major producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina combined, through its active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry: technology, mining, refining, smelting, fabricating, and recycling. Aluminum and alumina represent more than three-fourths of Alcoa’s revenue. Non-aluminum products include precision castings and aerospace and industrial fasteners. Alcoa’s products are used worldwide in aircraft, automobiles, commercial transportation, packaging, building and construction, oil and gas, defense, and industrial applications.
In May 2007 Alcoa made a US$27 billion hostile takeover bid for Alcan, aiming to unite the two companies and form the world's largest aluminum producer. The takeover bid was withdrawn after Alcan announced a friendly takeover by Rio Tinto in July 2007.
Among Alcoa's other businesses are fastening systems, building products (Kawneer) and Howmet Castings. The sale of the packaging unit was announced on December 21, 2007 and closed in the first quarter of 2008.
In 1886, Charles Martin Hall, a graduate of Oberlin College, discovered the process of smelting aluminum, almost simultaneously with Paul Héroult in France. He realized that by passing an electrical current through a bath of cryolite and aluminum oxide, the then semi-rare metal aluminum remained as a byproduct. This discovery, now called the Hall-Héroult process, is still the only process used to make aluminum.
Probably fewer than ten sites in the US and Europe produced any aluminum at the time. In 1887, Hall made an agreement to try his process at the Electric Smelting and Aluminum Company plant in Lockport, New York, but it was not used and Hall left after one year. On Thanksgiving Day 1888, with the help of Alfred E. Hunt, he started the Pittsburgh Reduction Company with an experimental smelting plant on Smallman Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1891, the company went into production in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. In 1895, a third site opened at Niagara Falls. By about 1903, after a settlement with Hall's former employer, and while its patents were in force, the company was the only legal supplier of aluminum in the US.
"The Aluminum Company of America"—became the firm's new name in 1907. The acronym "Alcoa" was coined in 1910, given as a name to two of the locales where major corporate facilities were located (although one of these has since been changed), and in 1999 was adopted as the official corporate name.
On April 5, 2001, Alcoa restated its net income for the effects of the change in accounting for revenue recognition.
Alcoa purchased an 8% stake of Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) in 2001. It tried to form a strategic alliance with China's largest aluminum producer, at its Pingguo facility; however, it was unsuccessful. Alcoa sold their stake in Chalco on September 12, 2007 for around $2 billion.
In 2004, Alcoa's specialty chemicals business was sold to two private equity firms led by Rhône Group for an enterprise value of $342, which included the assumption of debt and other unfunded obligations. Rhône Group then changed the name to Almatis, Inc..
In 2005, Alcoa began construction in Iceland on Alcoa Fjarðaál, a state-of-the-art aluminum smelter and the company's first greenfield smelter in more than 20 years, albeit under heavy criticism by local and international NGOs related to a controversial dam project exclusively dedicated to supplying electricity to this smelter. Also, Alcoa has completed or is undergoing primary aluminum expansion projects in Brazil, Jamaica, and Pinjarra, Western Australia.
In 2006, Alcoa relocated its top executives from Pittsburgh to New York City. Although the company's principal office is located in New York City, the company's operational headquarters are still located at its Corporate Center in Pittsburgh. Alcoa employs approximately 2,000 people at its Corporate Center in Pittsburgh and 60 at its principal office in New York.
On May 8, 2008, Klaus Kleinfeld was appointed new CEO of Alcoa, substituting Alain Belda. On April 23, 2010, Alcoa’s Board of Directors elected Kleinfeld to the office of Chairman, following Belda’s planned retirement.
On July 16, 2012, Alcoa announced that it will take over full ownership and operation of Evermore Recycling and make it part of Alcoa's Global Packaging group. Evermore Recycling is a leader in used beverage can recycling, purchasing more recycled cans than any other group worldwide.
The Political Economy Research Institute ranks Alcoa 15th among corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States. The ranking is based on the quantity (13 million pounds in 2005) and toxicity of the emissions. In April 2003, Alcoa Inc. agreed to spend an estimated $330 million to install a new coal-fired power plant with state-of-the-art pollution controls to eliminate the vast majority of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from the power plant at Alcoa's aluminum production facility in Rockdale, Texas. The settlement was the ninth case the Bush administration pursued to bring the coal-fired power plant industry into full compliance with the Clean Air Act. Alcoa was unlawfully operating at the Rockdale facility since it overhauled the Rockdale power plant without installing necessary pollution controls and without first obtaining proper permits required by "New Source Review" program of the Clean Air Act. In February 1999, Alcoa cleaned soils and sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and lead at the York Oil federal Superfund site in Moira, New York in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency. The site, a former waste oil recycling storage facility, accepted waste oil from a number of companies, including Alcoa. The facility was improperly managed and operated and, as a result, soils on the York Oil Property and nearby wetlands sediments and groundwater were contaminated. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Superfund Unilateral Order on December 31, 1998 requiring Alcoa to excavate, treat and dispose of the contaminated wetlands sediments.
Severe fluorosis was found to be affecting up to 90% of kangaroos living near Alcoa's smelter in Portland, Victoria. Dozens of animals were euthanised, and the remaining populations removed from the contaminated site. Alcoa's Portland plant is Victoria's largest emitter of fluoride dust, at 120 tonnes per year.
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Alcoa formed the Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica subsidiary on the island in 1959, shipping their first load of bauxite in 1963 from Rocky Point. Later in 1972, Alcoa established a 500,000 metric tonne per year refinery where they process bauxite into alumina. They have continued to upgrade the plant through the years and its now capable 1.425 metric tonnes per year. In 1988 the Jamaican government gained a 50% share in the subsidiary and renamed the operation to Jamalco, Alcoa being the managing partner. Expansion of the operation in 2007 resulted in Alcoa owning a total of 55% of the operation. Alcoa continues to mine bauxite in the Jamaican parishes of Clarendon and Manchester while competitors' operations take place in nearby parishes.
The Fjardaál smelter in eastern Iceland was completed in June 2007, and brought into full operation the following April. The plant processes 940 tons of aluminum a day, with a capacity of 346,000 metric tons a year, making it Alcoa's second largest capacity smelter. For power, the plant relies on the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant, constructed and operated by the state owned Landsvirkjun specifically for the smelting operation. That project was subject to controversy due to its impact on the environment.
In 2006, Alcoa and the government of Iceland signed an agreement on instigating a thorough feasibility study for a new 250,000 tpy (Tons Per Year) smelter in Bakki by Húsavík in Northern Iceland. In October 2011, the proposed project was dropped because "the power availability and proposed pricing would not support an aluminum smelter".
Established shortly before World War II, the facility at Kitts Green, Birmingham has produced many aluminium products. Throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s the plant became focused on flat-rolled products for the aerospace industry. As of 2007 the plant employed approx 530 employees.
On November 21, 2006, Alcoa announced that it planned to close the Waunarlwydd works in Swansea, with the loss of 298 jobs. Production ceased at the Swansea plant on January 27, 2007. A small site closure team worked at the site until the 31st December 2008. The site is still owned by Alcoa, but is now managed locally and renamed, Westfield Industrial Park. Several of the large buildings are leased out to local businesses.
Alcoa operates bauxite mines, alumina refineries and aluminum smelters through Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, which is a joint venture between Alumina Limited and Alcoa. Alcoa operates two bauxite mines in Western Australia - the Huntly and Willowdale mines. Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals owns and operates three alumina refineries in Western Australia: Kwinana, Pinjarra and Wagerup. The Wagerup expansion plans have been put on hold due to the Global Financial Crisis. Two aluminum smelters are also operated in the state of Victoria at Portland and Point Henry. Alcoa Australia Rolled Products, a 100% Alcoa Inc. venture, operates two rolling mills. The Point Henry Rolling mill in Victoria and the Yennora rolling mill in N.S.W. have a combined rolling capacity of approx. 200,000 tonnes. Alcoa uses 12,600 GWh or 15% of Victoria's electricity annually.
Alcoa's Western Australian Wagerup plant has a troubled history in the context of claims that pollution from the plant has had an adverse impact on the health of members of the adjacent local community.
On January 3, 2003 Alcoa opened its new operations headquarters on the North Shore Pittsburgh. This move came about after it donated its 50 year old skyscraper headquarters in Downtown Pittsburgh to the Regional Development Authority.
Alcoa created a plant just outside of Maryville, Tennessee in Blount County, Tennessee, which was the biggest provider of aluminum in the South. The area needed housing for workers, so Alcoa built many houses. The area eventually turned into a city and the wife of Alcoa hydro engineer James Rickey came up with the name Alcoa as an acronym for Aluminum Company of America. The name Alcoa was, therefore, created specifically to name the town Alcoa, Tennessee, which was founded in 1919. Over time, the name Alcoa was unofficially used to reference the company as well. The Aluminum Company of America officially changed its name to Alcoa, Inc. in 1999.
Alcoa's Massena West plant is the longest operating smelter in the United States, having been in continuous operation since 1902. The Reynolds Aluminum Plant became Massena East when the companies merged in 2000.
Alcoa has a plant in Davenport, Iowa, which was founded in 1947 on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is the company's hub for their aerospace supply hub and premier aerospace supply plant. It has produced at least one piece of metal on every space vehicle and contributed to the moon landing and victory in the US-Russia Space Race.
Alcoa also operates an aluminum smelting plant of similar size to the one in Tennessee in Warrick County, Indiana, just east of Newburgh, Vectren Energy operates a coal power plant on the site to provide electricity.
Alcoa maintains several Research and Development Centers in the United States. The largest one, Alcoa Technical Center, is located East of its Pittsburgh Headquarters at Alcoa Center, Pennsylvania. The "Tech Center" is as large as some college campuses, has its own Zip Code and maintains an extensive intellectual and physical resource for innovation. Alcoa's extensive safety program continuously improves safety at the Tech Center. After Paul O'Neill became Alcoa CEO in 1987, Alcoa became one of the safest companies in the world, despite the aluminum industry's inherent risks.
Alcoa makes tire rims for cars, buses, and vehicles, in addition Alcoa makes cans for the soft drink industry. The rims for cars, buses, and vehicles are made at Alcoa's Cleveland, Ohio plant on a sprawling campus on Harvard Avenue, just before the massive Arcelor Mittal steel plant. Alcoa also has some of its Cleveland's offices based in nearby Independence, Ohio, which is some 4 miles south of the Harvard Avenue plant.
Alcoa also has a subsidiary called Alcoa Fastening Systems, which manufactures aerospace fasteners. AFS Headquarters is located in Torrance, CA and in France, with half of the manufacturing locations located in southern California and others located in Arizona, New York, France, Germany, China, Hungary, Mexico, UK and Morocco. AFS also compromises Sales and Distribution/Logistics.
Alcoa first began commercial operations in Russia and opened an office in Moscow in 1993. Today, the Company employs approximately 5,370 people at its manufacturing operations in Samara and Belaya Kalitva. Since 2005, the company's reported investments reached over $787 million in its Russia operations, which has included a complete modernization of production equipment and processes at Samara and Belaya Kalitva. Alcoa Samara and Alcoa Belaya Kalitva plants produce a wide range of aluminum semi-fabricated products, including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions and forgings for packaging, aerospace, automotive, building and construction, commercial transportation, oil and gas and industrial markets.
Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals
Alcoa owns and operates the majority of its alumina refineries through its 60% share of Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals.
Alcoa primary aluminum smelters
Alcoa has interests in 25 primary aluminum smelters in 8 countries.
|Country||Location||Equity ownership||Plant Total Nameplate capacity (kt per year)||Alcoa's Capacity (kt per year)|
|Brazil||Poços de Caldas||100%||96||96|
|Brazil||São Luís (Alumar)||60%||447||268|
|United States||Alcoa, TN**||100%||215||215|
|United States||Badin, NC**||100%||60||60|
|United States||Newburgh, IN (Warrick)*||100%||309||309|
|United States||Ferndale, WA (Intalco)*||100%||279||279|
|United States||Frederick, MD (Eastalco)**||100%||195||195|
|United States||Massena (East Plant), NY||100%||125||125|
|United States||Massena (West Plant), NY||100%||130||130|
|United States||Mount Holly, SC||50%||229||115|
|United States||Rockdale, TX**||100%||267||267|
|United States||Wenatchee, WA***||100%||184||184|
*One idle potline
***Two idle potlines
- List of alumina refineries
- Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals
- Alcoa, Tennessee
- Alcoa Power Generating Inc.
- List of aluminum smelters
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- Official Web site
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- Top Companies of the Decade From Business Week magazine
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- Russia dethrones US metals king
- Something in the Air - The Clash Between a Giant Industry that makes an essential product and a small community dogged by illness and struggling for survival
- Protesters plan to lodge Supreme Court writ over Alcoa smelter
- Alcoa expands despite toxins