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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.
Type Subsidiary of Rio Tinto PLC (LSE: RIO)
Founded 1902 as a subsidiary of Alcoa
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Key people Jacynthe Côté, President and CEO
Industry Aerospace, Mass Transportation, Building, Construction, Packaging, Aluminium, Alumina.
Products Aluminas, aluminum sheet, extrusion billet, rod and remelt ingot, alloys, cable, packaging
Net income $1.786 billion USD (2006)
Employees 68,000 (including joint-ventures)

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. became the world's largest Aluminium company when Rio Tinto PLC's Canadian subsidiary, Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc., completed a friendly acquisition of Canadian company Alcan Inc. on November 15, 2007. On this date, Alcan Inc. was renamed Rio Tinto Alcan Inc..

Alcan Inc., at the time of the takeover, had been the world's third largest aluminium producer, behind its one time parent Alcoa (from which it split in 1928) and Rusal. The 2007 deal that created Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. followed a failed hostile takeover bid for Alcan by Alcoa.



Founded in 1902 as the Canadian unit of Alcoa, it was spun off in 1928.

Alcan has gone through several name changes:

  • Northern Aluminum Company Limited - 1902
  • Aluminum Company of Canada Limited - 1925
  • registers the name Alcan - 1945
  • added French name Aluminium du Canada, Limitée - 1965
  • introduce the use of the name Alcan Aluminium Limited in English and Alcan Aluminium Limitée 1966; later used as the official name of the parent company in 1987
  • Alcan Inc. - 2001
  • Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. - 2007 (current company name)
The logo of Alcan before the Rio Tinto takeover.

From 1935 to 1945, the use of Aluminum in Alcan's name was being disputed by Alcoa, but a decision by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals ended the legality of the company's name.

Historically, Alcan was one of Canada's most important and powerful companies, and was listed as the sixth "largest" in 1975.[1]

In 1982 the company acquired the British Aluminium Company, renaming the operation British Alcan. In 1999, Alcan made a failed attempt to make a three-way merger between it and Algroup (Alusuisse Lonza Group) of Switzerland and Pechiney of France. The proposed merger was blocked by the European Commission due to fears of anti-competition. After the deal fell through, Alcan acquired Algroup in 2000. Then in 2003, Alcan acquired Pechiney, completing the original three-way merger plan of 1999.

In July 2007, Hindalco Industries announced it is buying the stake of Alcan in the Utkal Alumina Project in Orissa, India marking an exit of Alcan from the project.

On January 20, 2009 Rio Tinto Alcan announced plans to close the Beauharnois smelter and reduce output from the Vaudreuil refinery; both facilities are in Quebec. It is part of a larger plan to reduce aluminum output by a further 6% (following a cut of 5% in late 2008), while cutting 1,100 jobs worldwide. The company will also sell its half-interest in the Chinese Alcan Ningxia joint venture.[2]

Product groups


Bauxite and alumina

Alcan owns, operates or has an interest in six bauxite mines and deposits, five smelter-grade alumina refineries and six specialty aluminas plants. Its Bauxite & Alumina group refines bauxite ore into smelter-grade alumina for Alcan’s Primary Metal group and external customers and specialty-grade alumina for third parties. It also owns an extensive transportation network, including trucking, rail, marine shipping and port facilities worldwide.

Primary metal

Alcan Primary Metal group includes Alcan’s aluminum smelting facilities and power generation installations, smelting technology and equipment sales, engineering services and aluminum trading operations, anode and cathode production facilities and aluminum fluoride plants.

Alcan owns or has an interest in 22 smelters in 11 countries and regions.

Alcan smelters[3]
Location Annual Capacity (kt) Ownership (%)
Tomago, NSW, Australia 520 51.5
Edea, Cameroon (Alucam) 100 46.7
Alma, Quebec 415 100
Arvida, Quebec 166 100
Beauharnois, Quebec 52 100
Becancour, Quebec 404 25
Grande-Baie, Quebec 207 100
Kitimat, British Columbia 277 100
Laterriere, Quebec 228 100
Sept-Îles, Quebec (Alouette) 572 40
Shawinigan, Quebec 99 100
Qingtongxia, China 152 50
Dunkerque, France 259 100
Lannemezan, France 50 100
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, France 135 100
Hafnarfjörður, Iceland (ISAL) 179 100
Vlissingen, Netherlands 213 85
Husnes, Norway (SORAL) 164 50
Sohar (Muscat), Oman N/A 20
Lochaber, Scotland, UK 43 100
Lynemouth, UK 178 100
Sebree, Kentucky, USA 196 100
Tiwai Point, NZ 330 79.36

Alcan is based in Montreal, Quebec and had revenues of US$23.6 billion and 68,000 employees in 61 countries in 2007.

Corporate governance

As of March 6, 2007, members of the board of directors of Alcan were: Roland Berger, L. Denis Desautels, Dick Evans, Yves Fortier, Jean-Paul Jacamon, William R. Loomis Jr., Yves Mansion, Christine Morin-Postel, H. Onno Ruding, Guy Saint-Pierre, Gerhard Schulmeyer, Paul M. Tellier, and Milton K. Wong.

It should be noted this was the last board of directors of Alcan prior to its renaming and becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto PLC. Rio Tinto added several Alcan directors to its corporate board in London, including Dick Evans, who is also Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Alcan now.


Alcoa Inc. announced a hostile take over bid for its progeny on May 7th, 2007, in a deal worth $27 billion USD. The combined companies would have formed the largest aluminum producer in the world. On May 22, 2007, Alcan's board of directors unanimously recommended that shareholders reject Alcoa’s unsolicited offer to acquire Alcan. The board determined that the offer was inadequate in multiple respects and was contrary to the best interests of Alcan’s shareholders. On July 12, 2007, Alcan announced a friendly takeover deal with Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, worth $38.1 billion USD. Alcan's board of directors unanimously recommended the deal to shareholders. Alcoa withdrew its bid later in the day. On October 25, 2007, the merger was completed and Rio Tinto Alcan (the amalgamation of Alcan and Rio Tinto Aluminum) became the world's largest aluminum company. Rio Tinto Alcan is based in Montreal and retains Alcan's CEO, Dick Evans. However, while Rio Tinto won overwhelming shareholder support on October 25, 2007, the acquisition was not formally consummated until November 15, 2007, the date on which the corporate name changes and integration were finally completed.[4][5]

See also


External links


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