Norsk Hydro ASA has decided to close its Kurri Kurri aluminium plant in Australia. The decision follows a consultation process with the local employees.
"After consulting with the workforce and the unions, we have come to the conclusion to close the remaining two production lines at Kurri Kurri. We will shortly start shutting down pots, and will do this in a safe and proper manner," says Hilde Merete Aasheim, executive vice president of Hydro's Primary Metal business area.
The decision is a response to the weak macro-economic environment, with low metal prices, uncertain market outlook and overcapacity in the aluminium industry, in combination with a strong Australian dollar.
One potline was already curtailed in February. The process to close the remaining two potlines will start shortly and is expected to take up to three months. More than 300 people will be made redundant as a consequence of the decision to close the plant.
Following the decision, Hydro expects to recognize an expense of about NOK 200 million related to redundancies and an impairment charge of about NOK 1.2 billion in the second-quarter results. Both items will be excluded from underlying EBIT. Cash effect from redundancies will be more than offset by release of working capital.
Hydro remains confident that customer commitments will be served through its global metal products supply system.
Kurri Kurri, fully owned by Hydro, has three production lines with a total annual production capacity of 180,000 metric tons.