Hindalco started in 1958; earlier, the focus was on primary aluminium production and brownfield expansions. Post-2000, we’ve grown through acquisitions and greenfield investments. The primary aluminium business generates irregular cash-flow because of volatility in international prices. To derisk, the company increased the share of the downstream activities. We acquired Novelis, the world’s largest aluminium rolling company, in 2007, followed by more downstream investments in India, and the Aleris acquisition in 2020 to build capability in aerospace rolled products.
Hindalco also invested about $5 billion in upstream projects — state-of-the-art aluminium smelting and refinery facilities — and focussed on raw material security. This derisking strategy has shown results: while aluminium prices have been subdued, our downstream business has generated good cash-flow. Today, Hindalco is the sole supplier for many of India’s high-end aluminium downstream products for defence, aerospace, transportation, pharma and food packaging, electronics, and construction.
Hindalco is the world’s largest aluminium rolled products manufacturer, especially in beverage cans and auto body. With the acquisition of Aleris, the company can produce aerospace-grade aluminium sheets. We are focussing on building capability in India to be part of the India growth story and Atmanirbhar Bharat, with a focus on defence, electric vehicles, high-speed trains, smart cities, electronics manufacturing.
On the support needed to enhance India’s standing in the sector
Coal and bauxite account for 75 per cent of aluminium production cost. India has abundant coal and good quality bauxite: with government support, we can become an aluminium superpower. However, taxes and duties account for 17 per cent of production cost; interest and logistics costs are high.
One tonne of aluminium needs 22 tonnes of material to be moved. Rationalising these costs will give an impetus. India is the world’s third-largest aluminium producer and consumer.
Yet, 60 per cent of the metal is imported as India has no restriction on scrap imports. India’s per capita consumption is only 2.8 kg against China’s 26 kg and world average of 12 kg. Policy support is needed to increase consumption.