ALVANCE Aluminium Group, part of GFG Alliance, completed its purchase of the Duffel aluminum rolling mill and recycling operations near Antwerp in Belgium. The company acquired the site from Novelis for €310 million. The mill will be renamed ALVANCE Aluminium Duffel.
“I would like to welcome the Duffel team to the family of GFG Alliance companies. Today marks yet a further milestone in our European investment journey and a step closer to our aim of establishing an end-to-end international low-carbon aluminum champion creating high-value products and sustaining high-value jobs,” said Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of GFG Alliance. “Duffel is a premium operation with a highly-skilled workforce. It is a market leader in body sheet production with potential to expand its capacity and widen its customer offerings. We see that asset strength with potential and want to help drive expansion.”
Founded in 1946, Duffel is a leading European producer of premium aluminum rolled products and a pioneer in the European automotive body sheets (ABS) market. The plant has the capacity to process 250,000 tpa and currently reuses around 104,000 tpa of aluminum scrap material — bringing ALVANCE closer to its aim of reaching 1 million tpa of capacity. The acquisition of the plant marks a significant bolstering and expansion of ALVANCE’s downstream portfolio and its ambition to be a leading supplier of value added, sustainable aluminum products to the automotive sector and other industries.
ALVANCE is committed to maximizing both the volumes and variety of value-added products and plans to increase production capacity by significantly investing in the modernization of its equipment. Duffel will also benefit from synergies with ALVANCE Aluminium Dunkerque, Europe’s largest aluminum smelter, which will include a direct supply of guaranteed high-quality primary aluminum.
“We are delighted to be joining both ALVANCE and the GFG Alliance and are very excited to help drive the company’s expansion plans,” said Geert Vannuffelen, managing director of ALVANCE Aluminium Duffel.” Duffel is on a path to create valuable opportunities for our employees and partners. As a business we fully support ALVANCE’s vision and ambitions for sustainable value-added aluminum and are proud to say that we see a strong correlation between Duffel’s values today and GFG Alliance’s own core values. We believe that as part of ALVANCE we will have the support to develop our site in a sustainable way and in so doing provide an even better service to our customers.”
Duffel will also add to GFG’s drive to maximize “closed loop” operations across its value chain. Waste or scrap products will be either recycled by the site that produces them or by another plant within the group — lowering the carbon footprint of the business and extracting even more value from the process. Duffel already recycles a large proportion of its own scrap and will expand recycling to include any potential synergies with customers and the company’s group sites, such as Dunkerque.
In addition to the clear operational synergies, ALVANCE sees Duffel’s recognition as a sustainable business, through its ASI accreditations, as even more relevant to its own GREENALUMINIUM strategy and wider aims to decarbonize the group’s operations by 2030 through the CN30 plan. Sharing the best environmental and sustainability practices within ALVANCE and across the Alliance will be key to realizing these ambitious plans.
“ALVANCE is clearly a leader in offering low carbon and high-quality aluminum product to a growing market,” said Arnaud de Weert, chief executive officer, ALVANCE. “We are building a new aluminum business at a time when other aluminum producers are leaving Europe for lower cost territories. We believe that our growing aluminum value chain based on low carbon production of a high-quality material with proximity to our customers can not only compete with products from further afield but outclass them. I’m delighted to welcome the workers at Duffel to join the Alliance on its journey to realize our vision together.”
The acquisition has triggered the start of a 100-day review program, during which ALVANCE will work with the Duffel management, trade unions, customers, and suppliers to complete a comprehensive analysis of the businesses to explore investment opportunities and develop detailed plans to boost its competitiveness, extend product range and support sales growth. A core focus of the program will also explore how Duffel will play a key role in both GFG and ALVANCE’s vision to be carbon neutral by 2030 (CN30).
The sale of the Duffel rolling mill also supports Novelis’ acquisition of Aleris. Approval of the acquisition by the European Commission and Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation was contingent upon the condition that Novelis divest the Duffel plant to a third party that met certain buyer suitability requirements. Both regulators have now approved ALVANCE as a suitable buyer and have permitted the sale to be completed.