INTERVIEW: A primary focus for Qatalum's Johansen

Qatar Aluminium (Qatalum) does not have ambitions to expand its business beyond primary aluminium smelting. Unlike many other producers, it covets neither upstream nor downstream assets to bolster its central business. As ceo Tom Petter Johansen tells Metal Bulletin, the company just wants to smelt aluminium for the world.

“Qatalum has a global perspective for its premium extrusion ingots and foundry alloys,” Johensen said. “We see large opportunities for expansion based on future regional and global demand.” Aluminium capacity cutbacks among western producers have become common in the past few years. As prices passed below $2,200 per tonne in 2012, on their way down to a low of about $1,685 per tonne, those producers started losing money. Curtailments, though drawn out by internal and political pressure, inevitably followed. Rio Tinto, Norsk Hydro and Alcoa were among the names to shut down aluminium producing facilities in 2012. But the intended effect of these shutdowns – market tightness leading to higher prices – never materialised, and prices remain at about $1,900 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange. That is because the fall in production among western producers has been more than mitigated by production increases in the Gulf region, as producers in...

Published

Jethro Wookey

June 26, 2014

16:27 GMT

London