Alcoa to partially restart Warrick smelter in Indiana

(Reuters) - Aluminum producer Alcoa Corp said on Tuesday it would partially restart its Warrick smelter in Indiana, more than a year after closing the then largest operating smelter in the United States.

Alcoa expects the aluminum smelting capacity from the restart to supply its rolling mill at Warrick ahead of an expected increase in production, said Tim Reyes, the president of Alcoa’s aluminum business.

The rolling mill makes flat-rolled aluminum for the North American food and beverage can packaging industry.

Alcoa will restart three of five potlines at the Evansville, Indiana plant, the company said. The process is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

After the restart, Alcoa will have about 886,000 metric tons idled of its total smelting capacity of 3.4 million metric tons, the company said.

Alcoa said it expects to incur after-tax costs of $30 million to $35 million in the third and fourth quarters of 2017 related to the restart.

The company also said it would record an after-tax benefit of about $25 million for the reversal of liabilities related to the original closure.

The March 2016 closure came amid claims from U.S. aluminum producers that subsidized Chinese production was hurting their business.

“Alcoa appreciates the actions the Trump Administration has taken to address the challenges faced by the U.S. aluminum industry, including Chinese overcapacity,” the company said on Tuesday.

The partial restart would add about 275 employees to the current 1,250-strong workforce at the Warrick site, Alcoa said.

Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar