Taco Gerbranda, new chief executive officer at Almatis GmbH, talked to IM after his first 100 days on the outlook for speciality alumina products for the refractory, ceramics and polishing markets
Effective October 1st, 2011, Almatis will raise prices on its entire specialty alumina product portfolio including all standard products in Tabular alumina, calcined alumina, calcium aluminate cement and spinels. Price increases will range from 8 to 12 percent and will be effective for all new contracts after October 1st, 2011
After the strong recovery from the recession, more capacity for higher quality products is essential. The specialty alumina industry needs a healthier margin level to allow for further investment and to guarantee a reliable supply of premium products and stronger innovation to support the end markets in their future growth. In addition, we will have to recover inflationary, logistics, feedstock and energy cost increases that haven’t been fully recovered since the recession. One important step we are making to counter increased volatility in raw material costs is a move to contracts with a maximum duration of six months.
“Almatis is committed to providing its customers with a reliable supply of premium products globally. We strive to ensure the highest level of quality and delivery performance to our customers in every region around the world. We have returned to very high capacity utilization in all of our plants, so we will continue to strategically invest in additional capacity to support the growing global demand for synthetic alumina products” states Taco Gerbranda, CEO.
Almatis is a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of premium specialty alumina products. With about 900 employees worldwide, the company's products are used in a wide variety of industries, including steel production, cement production, non-ferrous metal production, ceramics, carpet manufacturing and electronic industries. Almatis operates nine production facilities worldwide and serves customers around the world. Until 2004, the business was known as the chemical business of Alcoa.
Almatis is now majority owned by Dubai International Capital LLC (DIC), a private equity investment company established in 2004 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai Holding.
- New investments are being rolled out in line with growth strategy
Almatis, a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of premium specialty alumina products, has witnessed a sharp recovery in financial performance, following the financial restructuring one year ago. Revenues in 2010 surpassed $0.5 billion, up 33 percent compared to 2009, and continued to grow by another 16 percent for the first half of 2011 compared to 2010.The Company saw even stronger growth in earnings. Demand in the Refractories, Ceramics and Polishing segments continues to be strong in the Americas, Asia and also Europe, as the steel industry and global GDP have continued to grow, and Almatis is working at full capacity.
David Smoot, Chairman of Almatis, commented:
“We are pleased to see a significant improvement in Almatis’ performance, which has exceeded targets that were put in place back in September 2010, when the Group completed its financial restructuring. This recovery has taken place following the global downturn which heavily impacted Almatis’ end markets. The restructuring has led to significant debt deleveraging and the level of indebtedness over earnings is now below that of many comparable companies. Furthermore, Almatis has already started to pay down some of its debt. The Board remains very supportive of management’s initiatives to expand capacity in order to maximize opportunities for further growth.”
In 2011, Almatis expects growth opportunities right across the markets in which it operates. After having implemented most of its cost saving potential over the recent months, the company will have to pass on price increases from its suppliers for raw material and energy, categories that have shown major upward trends over the last months. Although recent demand levels have led to some capacity constraints at several manufacturing facilities, progress in key projects and expansion plans are expected to create headroom at the beginning of nextyear. The construction of a full scale calcines facility in Huangdao (China) is progressing according to plan and production is expected to commence in early 2012.
Taco Gerbranda, Chief Executive Officer of Almatis, said:
“We have increased investment in existing facilities, creating more capacity which will enable us to meet customer demand in an efficient and technologically advanced way. Strong cash generation, also through tighter working capital management, and a healthy financial structure have allowed the Group to self-finance and execute two significant investment projects so far this year. Total investment by Almatis will exceed $45 million in 2011. Other growth initiatives are being explored and we expect Almatis to continue expanding capacity, as well as introducing new products, in the next couple of years.”
Demand for synthetic sintered-alumina aggregates boosted bay steel refractories
The Board of Almatis has nominated Taco Gerbranda as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Almatis. He is expected to take up his new role during May. He succeeds Remco de Jong who has decided to step down from his position following the successful completion of the financial restructuring of the company.
David Smoot, Chairman of the Board of Almatis, commented: “We would like to express our gratitude to Remco de Jong for the successful management of the company in challenging times. The Board remains supportive of the existing growth strategy and we look forward to working with Taco Gerbranda to continue to drive growth and value creation for the business, based on further product innovations and new capacity, primarily in Asia.”
Taco Gerbranda, CEO designate, said “Almatis is on a strong financial footing and has great potential for overseas expansion. I look forward to working with the team to maximise this opportunity.”
Taco Gerbranda spent over 25 years with the Philips Group, where he held several different management positions in various countries, including Singapore, Brazil, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. He worked in technical and commercial roles across the consumer electronics, car systems, components and Grundig divisions. In 2001 he joined Heraeus Holding as CEO of the division Heraeus Electro-Nite, which he led from 2001 until the end of 2009. Heraeus Electro-Nite group is a global market leader for disposable sensors for the strategic business sectors molten steel, iron and aluminium. There, Taco promoted global expansion driven by the need for building a better cost base and increasing market share.
Almatis is a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of premium specialty alumina products. With nearly 900 employees worldwide, the company's products are used in a wide variety of industries, including steel production, cement production, non-ferrous metal production, ceramics, carpet manufacturing and electronic industries. Almatis operates nine production facilities worldwide and serves customers around the world. Until 2004, the business was known as the chemical business of Alcoa. Almatis is now majority owned by Dubai International Capital LLC (DIC), the international investment arm of Dubai Holding.
New production plant on target for 2011 completion
Almatis is confirming its commitment to the Asian market for its premium alumina
products with the investment in construction of a full scale state-of-the-art
calcines production facility in China.
"This project is one of the biggest investments Almatis has ever made," states
Remco de Jong, Almatis CEO. "Our decision in September 2010 to go forward
with this project following a two-year worldwide industry recession demonstrates
our commitment to the Asian region. China is the largest steel producing nation in
the world and there is significant growth potential in ceramics applications
throughout the region as well. By increasing our calcines capacity, we will be able
to support our customers' growth with the latest production technology, lower
shipping costs and shorter delivery times."
Groundbreaking for the new facility, which will be integrated with the existing
Huangdao (Qingdao) Tabular plant, took place on October 18, 2010 at 3:18
p.m.—an auspicious combination of numbers in Chinese traditional culture. The
plant will be mechanically completed by the end of 2011 and commence
production in early 2012.
Almatis business activities in China date back to 1998 when the Huangdao
processing plant was established to manufacture crushed and sized alumina
products. Almatis opened its expanded and fully integrated Tabular alumina
facility in Huangdao in 2006. In addition to its regional headquarters in
Huangdao, Almatis has a sales office in Shanghai. Currently Almatis employs
about 150 people in China, which is expected to grow when the calcines plant
goes into production in 2012.
Almatis is a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of highquality
specialty alumina products. With nearly 900 employees worldwide, the
company's products are used in a wide variety of industries, including steel
production, cement production, non-ferrous metal production, ceramics and
electronic industries. Almatis operates nine production facilities worldwide and
serves customers around the world.