FACTBOX-Aluminium smelter cutbacks and closures

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Many aluminium producers have cut loss-making capacity or shut down completely as they struggle with low London Metal Exchange prices, high energy costs and a flood of new Chinese capacity.

On Monday, Alcoa Inc said it will close its 50-year-old Point Henry aluminium smelter and two rolling mills in Australia after a two-year review.

Russia's Rusal estimates that producers outside of China eliminated up to 1.2 million tonnes of capacity last year and further reductions of 1 million-1.5 million tonnes are expected in 2014.

Cutting output outside of China will eventually help erode a mountain of inventory that has overshadowed the market for years.

Still, since early November cash LME prices have been under $1,800 per tonne, which is close to or below break even for a big portion of global capacity.

Even with all the cuts so far, analysts polled by Reuters expect a surplus of 568,400 tonnes this year with output rising in the Middle East, where power costs less, and China.

Below are details of many producers' efforts to cut loss-making capacity and divest assets. In some cases, several plants have been saved from the brink of closure.


The world's biggest aluminium producer cut production by 8 percent to 3.9 million tonnes in 2013 after closing three smelters and plans to remove a further 325,000 tonnes in 2014.


Alcoa has announced closures or curtailments representing 551,000 tonnes of smelting capacity, exceeding the 460,000 tonnes placed under review since May 2013.

That includes closures announced since the start of the year, such as the shutdown of Point Henry and its Massena East smelter in New York with combined capacity of 315,000 tonnes.

Massena East will close sometime in the first quarter.

It also has 568,000 tonnes, or 13 percent, of its annual smelting capacity sitting idle.


Rio Tinto shut a 100,000-tonnes-per-year smelter in Shawinigan, Quebec last year and has sold several smelters in the United States and France.

But the company was forced last August to abandon a plan to spin off its Pacific Aluminium business housing 13 underperforming smelting and alumina businesses after failing to find a buyer.

The company continues to carry the burden of its $38 billion takeover of Canada's Alcan, a 2007 deal which has racked up $30 billion in writedowns.


Norwegian producer has mothballed its 180,000-tonne Kurri Kurri smelter in Australia in 2012, but has focused on cutting costs and modernizing plants to offset low aluminium prices.

The company had slashed costs by $300 a tonne at its aluminium smelters it fully owns by the end of 2013 and has said it will target savings of $180 a tonne for its joint-venture smelters by the end of 2016.


The global mining group said in January it had started talks with employees at its Bayside aluminium smelter in South Africa about possibly closing the plant.

The move comes as it focuses on core assets such as iron ore and looks at divesting some non-core assets such as aluminium, nickel and manganese.


The mid-sized U.S. producer became the latest casualty of low aluminium prices and high power costs in October, closing its 270,000-tonne-per-year smelter in Hannibal, Ohio.

The company had filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2013.


Dutch smelter Aluminium Delfzijl (Aldel) filed for bankruptcy at the end of December 2013 after failing to negotiate an energy deal in a years-long battle to stay afloat.

The company, the last remaining smelter in the Netherlands and bought by global industrial commodities company Klesch Group in 2009, produced more than 110,000 tonnes of new aluminium and recycled a further 50,000 tonnes of metal a year.


Germany's largest aluminium producer has said it will add capacity and jobs this year at the two French plants it bought from miner Rio Tinto in December.

The company took control of the plants last month in a deal backed by the French state and utility EDF, saving them from closure and preventing the loss of about 500 jobs.

Annual production from the two sites in 2014 will rise to 140,000-150,000 tonnes from around 100,000 tonnes, bringing them back to full capacity.


Bosnia's sole aluminium smelter staved off closure in October last year after clinching a deal to settle its debt to the state-run power company.

It produces around 160,000 tonnes of aluminium a year and employs 900 people directly in the Mostar area.


The U.S. producer, which is controlled by Glencore Xstrata PLC, has agreed deals with the Kentucky power regulator to allow it to buy power on the grid to feed its two smelters, Sebree and Hawesville, which operate in the state.

Those plants were threatened with closure without the new energy deals. Century bought Sebree, which has capacity of 205,000 tonnes per year, from Alcan last April.

(Compiled by Josephine Mason; Editing by Eric Walsh)