Monterey, CA, May 17, 2004 - Century Aluminum Company (NASDAQ: CENX) and subsidiaries of Noranda Finance of Nashville, Tennessee have agreed to jointly acquire the Gramercy alumina refinery and related Jamaican bauxite mining assets from Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation for US $23 million, subject to closing adjustments. Century and Noranda would each pay one-half or $11.5 million of the purchase price.
Kaiser is selling the assets as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization to emerge from bankruptcy as a producer of fabricated aluminum products. The purchase is subject to bankruptcy court approval and possible auction under procedures to be approved by the bankruptcy court should qualified bids be received prior to an auction date scheduled in early July.
A company jointly owned 50/50 by subsidiaries of Century and Noranda would purchase the Gramercy refinery in Gramercy, LA, and a second jointly owned company would purchase Kaiser's 49-percent interest in KJBC, a bauxite mining partnership in Jamaica. The Government of Jamaica owns the remaining 51-percent share. The mining partnership supplies bauxite ore to the Gramercy facility and a third party refinery in Texas. The refining process chemically converts bauxite into alumina, the raw material from which primary aluminum is produced.
The Gramercy refinery has the capacity to produce 1.25 million metric tons of alumina a year. Century and Noranda each purchase approximately 500,000 metric tons of alumina a year for their respective primary aluminum reduction plants in Hawesville, KY and New Madrid, MO.
The Gramercy refinery began operations in 1959. Extensive portions were rebuilt and modernized in 2000. The related mining operations of KJBC in Jamaica began in 1967 and currently have capacity to mine and process 4.5 million metric tons of bauxite a year.
Century owns 615,000 metric tons per year (mtpy) of primary aluminum capacity. The company owns and operates a 244,000-mtpy plant at Hawesville, KY, a 170,000-mtpy plant at Ravenswood, WV and a 90,000- mtpy plant at Grundartangi, Iceland. Century also owns a 49.67-percent interest in a 222,000-mtpy reduction plant at Mt. Holly, SC. Alcoa Inc. owns the remainder and is the operating partner. Century's corporate offices are located in Monterey, CA.
Century's press releases may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The company cautions that such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors.
A. T. Posti (831) 642-9364
Director of Corporate Communications