of Aluminum Company of America
) is an American industrial corporation. It is the world's eighth largest producer of aluminum
with corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh
Alcoa conducts operations in 10 countries. Alcoa is a major producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina combined, through its active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry: technology, mining, refining, smelting, fabricating, and recycling.
On November 1, 2016, Alcoa Inc. split into two new entities: Alcoa Corporation, which is engaged in the mining and manufacture of raw aluminium, and Arconic
, which processes aluminum and other metals.
After having relocated corporate operations to New York City in 2006, Alcoa moved its headquarters back to Pittsburgh effective September 1, 2017.
In October 2018, Alcoa announced plans to move from Pittsburgh's North Shore to a more downtown Pittsburgh location.
A tablet marking where in November 1888, the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, now Aluminum Company of America, produced the first commercial run of aluminium by the Hall Electrolytic Process. Tablet installed by Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
Probably fewer than ten sites in the United States and Europe produced any aluminium at the time.
In 1887, Hall made an agreement to try his process at the Electric Smelting and Aluminum Company
plant in Lockport, New York
, but it was not used and Hall left after one year. On Thanksgiving Day 1888, with the help of Alfred E. Hunt
, he started the Pittsburgh Reduction Company with an experimental smelting plant on Smallman Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
. In 1891, the company went into production in New Kensington, Pennsylvania
. In 1895, a third site opened at Niagara Falls
. By about 1903, after a settlement with Hall's former employer, and while its patents were in force, the company was the only legal supplier of aluminium in the United States
By 1902 New Kensington consisted of 173,000 sq. feet on 15 acres with 276 employees and the company operated hydropower and reduction plants in Niagara Falls, NY (1895), Shawinigan Falls, Quebec
(1900), mining operations in Bauxite, AR
(1901) and reduction facilities in East St. Louis, IL
(1902). "The Aluminum Company of America" became the firm's new name on January 1, 1907.
"Alcoa" was coined in 1910, given as a name to two of the locales where major corporate facilities were located (although one of these has since been changed), and in 1999 was adopted as the official corporate name.
From 1902 until 1915 additional plants in Massena, NY
(1903), Alcoa, TN
(1911), Edgewater, NJ
(1915), Badin, NC
(1915) came online while New Kensington had 31 buildings in the complex housing six departments (tubes, sheets, rods, bar and wire, extrusion, jobbing, foil) and two subsidiaries (Aluminum Cooking Utensil Company and Aluminum Seal Company). In 1907 it created the "company town" of Pine Grove, New York
, for workers outside Massena. In Baden, Alcoa, Maryville
and elsewhere the company funded the construction of schools, parks, playgrounds and medical facilities.
By the end of World War I
Alcoa's New Kensington facility accounted for 3,292 workers—a fifth of the local population—and covered over 1 million square feet of manufacturing space on 75 acres.
In 1963, John D. Harper, a Tennessee
native who had started with the company in 1925,
then was hired, in 1933, as an electrical engineer, following his graduation from the University of Tennessee
, and who had subsequently served as vice president and director; was named president of Alcoa, then CEO, in 1965, then chairman, in 1970, serving until his retirement from Alcoa, in 1975. Harper was also a director of Mellon Bank
N.A., Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
and Procter & Gamble
, and a trustee of Carnegie-Mellon University
. An advocate of close associations between business and government;
in 1972, Harper, with General Electric
CEO Fred J. Borch
was instrumental in co-founding the Business Roundtable
, and served as its chairman for three years.
In 1998, Alcoa acquired Alumax
in a cash and share deal for $2.8 billion. Alcoa paid $50 a share in cash for half of the shares and 0.6975 Alcoa share for each of the remaining Alumax shares. Alcoa also assumed $1 billion in debt.
Alumax's assets included the Eastalco aluminum smelter in Adamstown Maryland
, the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale Washington
, and the Kawneer
brand of building construction products.
In 2000, Alcoa acquired Reynolds Metals Co.
in an all-share deal for $4.5 billion. To clear anti-competition regulatory hurdles, Alcoa was required to sell Reynolds's 25% interest in a Washington smelter and all of Reynolds's alumina refineries. Reynolds owned a 56% interest in the Worsley alumina refinery in Australia, 50% interest in a refinery in Germany and 100% interest in a Texas refinery. Alcoa also planned to sell Reynolds's construction and distribution business and the company's $400 million transportation business.
Alcoa sold its packaging and consumer business, formerly called Reynolds Metals, to the Rank Group
for $2.7 billion in 2008.
In 2000, Alcoa also purchased Cordant Technologies Inc. for $57 a share in cash, or $2.3 billion, and also assumed $685 million of Cordant's debt for a total transaction value of $2.9 billion. Cordant's divisions included Huck Fasteners, Jacobson Mfg. Co., Continental/Midland Group, its 85% interest in Howmet International Inc.
, and Thiokol Corporation
In 2001, Alcoa sold Thiokol for $2.9 billion to Alliant Techsystems (ATK)
In 2005, Alcoa began construction in Iceland on Alcoa Fjarðaál, a state-of-the-art aluminium smelter and the company's first greenfield
smelter in more than 20 years,
albeit under heavy criticism by local and international NGOs related to a controversial dam project exclusively dedicated to supplying electricity to this smelter. Also, Alcoa has completed or is undergoing primary aluminium expansion projects in Brazil, Jamaica, and Pinjarra, Western Australia
In 2006, Alcoa relocated its top executives from Pittsburgh to New York City. Although the company's principal office was relocated to New York City, the company's operational headquarters were still located at its Corporate Center in Pittsburgh. Alcoa employed approximately 2,000 people at its Corporate Center in Pittsburgh and 60 at its principal office in New York.
On May 8, 2008, Klaus Kleinfeld was appointed CEO of Alcoa, succeeding Alain Belda
On April 23, 2010, Alcoa's board of directors selected Kleinfeld to the office of chairman, following Belda's planned retirement.
On July 16, 2012, Alcoa announced that it would take over full ownership and operation of Evermore Recycling and make it part of Alcoa's Global Packaging group. Evermore Recycling is a leader in used beverage can recycling, purchasing more recycled cans than any other group worldwide.
In June 2013, Alcoa announced it would permanently close its Fusina primary aluminium smelter in Venice
, Italy, where production had been curtailed since June 2010.
On January 9, 2014, Alcoa reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
and the U.S. Department of Justice
over charges of bribing Bahraini officials. Under the terms of the settlement they will pay the SEC $175 million to settle the charges. To settle the criminal claims with the DoJ, Alcoa World Alumina (AWA, a company within Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals) is pleading guilty to one count of violating the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
(FCPA). AWA will pay the DoJ $223 million in five equal installments over the next four years, bringing the company's total bill for the scandal to $384 million.
In June 2016, Alcoa Inc. announced plans to split itself into two companies. Alcoa Inc would be renamed as Arconic
and would take over the business of designing and building processed metal parts, primarily for the automotive and aerospace industries. A new company, Alcoa Corporation, would be set up and spun out of Alcoa Inc. and retain the Alcoa name. Alcoa Corp. would continue the business of mining, smelting, and refining of raw aluminium.
The split was completed on November 1, 2016.
In April 2017, Alcoa announced that it would relocate its corporate headquarters back to Pittsburgh as part of a general consolidation of administrative facilities around the world.
The Political Economy Research Institute
ranks Alcoa 15th among corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States. The ranking is based on the quantity (13 million pounds in 2005) and toxicity of the emissions.
In April 2003, Alcoa Inc. agreed to spend an estimated $330 million to install a new coal-fired power plant
with state-of-the-art pollution controls to eliminate the vast majority of sulfur dioxide
and nitrogen dioxide
emissions from the power plant at Alcoa's aluminium production facility in Rockdale
, Texas. The settlement was the ninth case the Bush administration
pursued to bring the coal-fired power plant industry into full compliance with the Clean Air Act
. Alcoa was unlawfully operating at the Rockdale facility since it overhauled the Rockdale power plant without installing necessary pollution controls and without first obtaining proper permits required by "New Source Review
" program of the Clean Air Act.
In February 1999, Alcoa cleaned soils and sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCB) and lead at the York Oil federal Superfund site in Moira, New York
, in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency. The site, a former waste oil
recycling storage facility, accepted waste oil from a number of companies, including Alcoa. The facility was improperly managed and operated and, as a result, soils on the York Oil Property and nearby wetlands sediments and groundwater were contaminated. The United States Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) issued a Superfund Unilateral Order on December 31, 1998, requiring Alcoa to excavate, treat and dispose of the contaminated wetlands sediments.
Operations by country
Alcoa formed the Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica
subsidiary on the island in 1959, shipping their first load of bauxite in 1963 from Rocky Point
. Later in 1972, Alcoa established a 500,000 metric tonne per year refinery where they process bauxite into alumina. They have continued to upgrade the plant through the years and its now capable 1,425,000 metric tonnes per year. In 1988 the Jamaican government gained a 50% share in the subsidiary and renamed the operation to Jamalco, Alcoa being the managing partner. Expansion of the operation in 2007 resulted in Alcoa owning a total of 55% of the operation. Alcoa continues to mine bauxite in the Jamaican parishes of Clarendon and Manchester while competitors' operations take place in nearby parishes.
The Alcoa Fjarðaál
smelter in eastern Iceland was completed in June 2007, and brought into full operation the following April. The plant processes 940 tons of aluminium a day, with a capacity of 346,000 metric tons a year,
making it Alcoa's second largest capacity smelter. For power, the plant relies on the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant
, constructed and operated by the state owned Landsvirkjun
specifically for the smelting operation. That project was subject to controversy due to its impact on the environment.
In 2006, Alcoa and the government of Iceland signed an agreement on instigating a thorough feasibility study for a new 250,000 tpy (Tons Per Year) smelter in Bakki by Húsavík
in Northern Iceland. In October 2011, the proposed project was dropped because "the power availability and proposed pricing would not support an aluminum smelter".
Alcoa announced plans to close the office in Reykjavik.
On November 21, 2006, Alcoa announced that it planned to close the Waunarlwydd
works in Swansea
, with the loss of 298 jobs. Production ceased at the Swansea plant on January 27, 2007. A small site closure team worked at the site until December 31, 2008. The site is still owned by Alcoa, but is now managed locally and renamed, Westfield Industrial Park.
Several of the large buildings are leased out to local businesses.
Alcoa operates bauxite mines, alumina refineries and aluminium smelters through Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals
, a joint venture between Alumina Limited
and Alcoa. Alcoa operates two bauxite mines in Western Australia—the Huntly and Willowdale mines. Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals owns and operates three alumina refineries in Western Australia
: Kwinana, Pinjarra
, and Wagerup
. The Wagerup expansion plans have been put on hold due to the Global Financial Crisis. Two aluminium smelters are also operated in the state of Victoria
and Point Henry
; the Point Henry smelter was scheduled to be closed in August 2014.
Alcoa Australia Rolled Products, a 100% Alcoa Inc. venture, operates two rolling mills. The Point Henry Rolling mill in Victoria and the Yennora rolling mill in N.S.W. have a combined rolling capacity of approx. 200,000 tonnes. Alcoa uses 12,600 GWh or 15% of Victoria's electricity annually.
Alcoa's Western Australian Wagerup plant has a troubled history in the context of claims that pollution from the plant has had an adverse impact on the health of members of the adjacent local community.
Alcoa's Massena West plant is the longest operating smelter in the United States, having been in continuous operation since 1902. The Reynolds Aluminum Plant became Massena East when the companies merged in 2000.
Alcoa also operates an aluminium smelting plant of similar size to the one in Tennessee in Warrick County, Indiana
, just east of Newburgh
, Vectren Energy
operates a coal power plant on the site to provide electricity. In 2021, Alcoa retained the aluminum smelter and generating station while selling the rest of the facility to Kaiser Aluminum. This sale included the casthouse, ingot facilities, hot mill, cold mills, and finishing mills.
Alcoa maintains several Research and Development Centers in the United States. The largest one, Alcoa Technical Center, is located East of its Pittsburgh Headquarters at Alcoa Center, Pennsylvania
. The "Tech Center" is as large as some college campuses, has its own zip code
and maintains an extensive intellectual and physical resource for innovation. Alcoa's extensive safety program continuously improves safety at the Tech Center. After Paul O'Neill became Alcoa CEO in 1987, Alcoa became one of the safest companies in the world, despite the aluminium industry's inherent risks.
Alcoa plans to close offices in Richmond, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Chicago.
Alcoa Steamship Company
The Alcoa Steamship company
was a subsidiary of ALCOA since the company was formed in 1917.
List of ships:
- SS Alcoa Banner (SS Sundance)
- SS Alcoa Cavalier
- SS Alcoa Clipper
- SS Alcoa Corsair
- SS Alcoa Guide
- SS Alcoa Partner
- SS Alcoa Patriot
- SS Alcoa Pegasus
- SS Alcoa Pennant
- SS Alcoa Pilgrim
- SS Alcoa Pioneer
- SS Alcoa Planter
- SS Alcoa Pointer
- SS Alcoa Polaris
- SS Alcoa Puritan
- SS Alcoa Ranger
- SS Alcoa Roamer
- SS Alcoa Runner
- SS Bushranger
In popular culture
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Last edited on 3 May 2021, at 23:41
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