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Hydro Invests Downstream In China

Norwegian aluminium producer Hydro is investing to extend its Suzhou plant in China with two new aluminium extrusion presses, increasing the company's ability to meet local demand for products.

The NOK 315 million investment covers the two presses, including installation, building and construction, and auxiliary equipment. One of the new presses will be dedicated to heat transfer components and systems, while Hydro intends to utilize the other toward industrial customers who require added value services such as fabrication or surface treatment – the higher-end building and construction segment is an example.

Hydro plans to begin production at the first press during the middle of 2012, with production on the other press starting several months later. This will bring to three the number of presses at the Suzhou plant.

The market for extruded products in China is more than 8 million tonnes – nearly three times as large as the European market – and Hydro is expecting solid growth to continue over the next years.

About 25 percent of the market is located in and around the Yangtze River Delta, which is China’s most advanced and dynamic industrial region. Suzhou is in the middle of this region.

“We are excited about being able to continue our growth in China,” says executive vice president Hans-Joachim Kock, who is responsible for Hydro’s worldwide extrusion-based operations.

Today, Hydro has around 260 employees at its site in Suzhou Industrial Park, about two hours west of Shanghai, where the company delivers precision drawn aluminium tubing and microchannel profiles for automotive and non-automotive heat transfer applications.

Kock says Hydro is expecting to have around 600 employees when the presses are brought into full production, which would make the site one of its largest extrusion-based locations in the world.

Hydro started production at the Suzhou plant in 2005.