Ceramic Industry

Almatis to Invest in New Calcined Alumina Facility in China (posted 8/7/08)

August 7, 2008

Almatis is establishing a full-scale calcines production facility in China, bringing the total investment into the production and processing of calcined specialty alumina products in the region to $50 million. The new plant will be integrated with the company’s existing Huangdao (Qingdao) tabular operation. The first phase of the project, a batch mill, will start production by the end of 2008. The kiln and other downstream processing equipment are scheduled to come on-stream by mid-2010.

According to Almatis, this investment strategically positions the company to continue meeting the rising demand of customers in Southeast Asia for premium alumina products. China remains the world’s largest steel producing nation, and there is significant growth potential in the Asian markets in ceramic applications like flat panel displays, spark plugs and electronic substrates.

“This decision represents a major commitment to supporting our customers’ future growth,” said Martin Laudenbach, chief executive officer. “We are investing our resources in this large project at a time when the global economic outlook is uncertain and our industry has to cope with massive increases of key input factor cost such as feedstock, energy and transportation. We see, however, the need for further investment to ensure sufficient availability of premium specialty alumina as enablers of growth in a range of industries. Our customers can furthermore expect increased flexibility and shorter delivery times as a result of the greater market proximity of the new facility and reduced dependency on long distance shipping.”

The new Asian calcines production facility complements Almatis’ existing calcines operations in North America and Europe. The project will incorporate state-of-the-art, energy-efficient technology for stable and efficient production. The history of Almatis manufacturing activities in China goes back to 1998, when the Huangdao (Qingdao) plant was established as a processing plant for crushed and sized alumina products. In 2006, Almatis inaugurated its fully integrated tabular alumina facility at the site. Almatis operates additional Asian production facilities for tabular alumina in Iwakuni, Japan, and Falta, India.

The company’s website is located at www.almatis.com.