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Alcoa To Curtail Aluminum Smelter In Spain For Two Years Due To High Energy Prices

Alcoa Corp (AA) said it reached an agreement with the workers' representatives to curtail aluminum smelter at its San Ciprián aluminum plant in Spain for two years, due to increase in European energy prices. Curtailment activities will begin on January 1, 2022, with the goal of completion before the end of January 2022. The company has committed that no collective dismissal process will be considered for the San Ciprián smelter until December 31, 2025 at the earliest.

Alcoa expects to record restructuring-related charges in the fourth quarter 2021 of approximately $60 million or $0.32 per share, with approximately half of the costs to be paid in each of 2022 and 2023.

The agreement calls for a two-year curtailment of the smelter's 228,000 metric tons of annual capacity, and a commitment by the company to begin the restart of the smelter in January 2024.

During the curtailment period, Alcoa will seek to secure as soon as possible long-term power purchase agreements, beginning from 2024. The company has also committed $68 million for capital investments and $35 million for restart costs. As part of the agreement, workers will immediately cease a strike action that has affected both the aluminum smelter and the alumina refinery.

In addition, the company has committed to provide employees full wages and benefits during the two-year curtailment period, to extend the contracts of contractor companies through 2024, and to provide a new collective bargaining agreement that includes pay increases extending to the end of 2025.

As a result of the curtailment and the agreement, Alcoa expects the San Ciprián aluminum plant to record an annual net loss before taxes of approximately $20 million to $25 million in 2022. In 2021, the aluminum plant is projected to record a net loss before taxes of approximately $65 million, with most of the impact in the fourth quarter based on increased power prices. The month to date December 2021 average spot market power price in Spain is $276 per megawatt hour.

During the curtailment, the casthouse will continue to operate, and the San Ciprián alumina refinery will continue to operate normally, Alcoa said in a statement.

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