PARIS Jan 23 Aluminium products makers
Constellium NV and UACJ Corp will form a joint
venture in the United States to supply the auto industry in
response to growing demand for light-weight materials, the
companies said on Thursday.
Car manufacturers are turning to aluminium to raise fuel
efficiency in line with new regulations, and some analysts
expect a fivefold increase this year in the auto aluminium sheet
market in the United States.
Dutch-based Constellium and Japan's UACJ plan to invest
about $150 million to develop a production facility for
aluminium sheet for car bodies, with an initial capacity target
of 100,000 tonnes, they said in a joint statement.
The partners aim to launch production in the first half of
2016, a Constellium spokesman told Reuters, adding they would
probably develop a new site rather than add a line at an
Constellium will take a 51 percent stake in the venture
alongside UACJ's U.S. subsidiary Tri-Arrows Aluminium Inc., with
the agreement to be finalised in the first half of this year.
The move comes after Constellium chief executive Pierre
Vareille said this month the group would announce in the first
quarter plans to expand in the U.S. auto sector.
Constellium, whose roots lie in former French aluminium
group Pechiney, also announced last week it would invest 200
million euros in the next three years to raise its capacity for
car body sheet in Europe.