The world’s leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, and an employer of over 600 workers in Goose Creek, South Carolina, Alcoa announced yesterday that it will sell its primary shares to Century Aluminum, currently a “low-key” partner. By the end of this quarter, Century will become a full-owner.
Century Aluminum, a Chicago based corporation announced Thursday it will pay $67.5 million to buy out Alcoa’s 50.3 percent stake. The deal will include incentives in the form of lower rates from Santee Cooper, the local electricity provider. The current contract with Santee Cooper expires the end of 2015. The plant, located on State highway 52 in Berkeley County, produces “billets” and is a high user of electrical power. The “Mount Holly,” plant as it is called, has been in operation for 34 years and has been an industry leader in production efficiency.
Alcoa, although not the Mount Holly plant specifically, has a long history in providing materials to the military. In October 2013, the U.S. Army’s research lab rated Alcoa’s ArmX 5456-H151 armor plates highest in strength for troop protection in military vehicles. Those ratings were for ballistics resistance and blast absorption on armored combat vehicles. The Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle, its most survivable piece of equipment, and the Humvee have used Alcoa aluminum for decades.
It was not immediately known if Century Aluminum will be supplying aluminum billets eventually used for military purposes.
Alcoa Defense has partnered with military industry leaders for decades to design and develop materials to increase agility, speed, and survivability of many military platforms.
The Mt. Holly plant has huge economic impact on Berkeley County and the surrounding area. As of 2011, the plant generated nearly $200 million a year in local and state spending on goods and services. The annual payroll is estimated to be $50 million. There has been no indication if the change in ownership will result in fewer jobs at the facility.
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