Aluminum Production

Aluminum Production

Brief Excerpt from Industry Overview Chapter:

Companies in this industry process and manufacture alumina, aluminum, and aluminum products. Major companies include Alcoa (US), Chalco (China), Hindalco Industries (India), Norsk Hydro (Norway), Rio Tinto (UK), and RUSAL (Russia).


Demand comes largely from manufacturers of durable goods such as motor vehicles, aircraft, food packaging containers, building and construction, and electrical generators. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, because aluminum products are commodities sold based on price. Big companies have economies of scale in production. Accordingly, most producers of secondary products buy raw metal from the large producers. Small companies can compete by serving regional markets or producing specialty products. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 85% of revenue.


Major sources of revenue include semi-fabricated products like aluminum sheet, plate, and foil (about 40% of industry revenue); rolled, drawn, and extruded aluminum (25%); aluminum ingot (20%); and plain aluminum foil (5%). Some aluminum producers also make aluminum oxide and aluminum insulated wire and cable. Primary aluminum production involves processing alumina into aluminum. Secondary smelting and refining involve recovering aluminum and aluminum alloys from scrap or purchased aluminum. Aluminum is lightweight, weather-resistant, and easily workable and formable, as well as highly conductive for electricity, highly reflective, and safe for use as food packaging -- diverse properties that make the metal a high-demand product.

Industry Overview
Quarterly Industry Update
Business Challenges
Business Trends
Industry Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Financial Information
Industry Forecast
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