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Rio Tinto Alcan

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.

Subsidiary of Rio Tinto PLC

Industry Aerospace, Mass Transportation, Building, Construction, Packaging, Aluminium, Alumina.
Founded 1902 as a subsidiary of Alcoa
Headquarters Deloitte Tower, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Key people
Alfredo Barrios, President and CEO
Products Aluminas, aluminium sheet, extrusion billet, rod and remelt ingot, alloys, cable, packaging
Increase $2.786 billion USD (2006)
Number of employees
68,000 (including joint-ventures)
Parent Rio Tinto
Website .com.riotintoalcanwww

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. is a Canadian company based in Montreal. It was created on November 15, 2007 as the result of the merger between Rio Tinto PLC's Canadian subsidiary, Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc., and Canadian company Alcan Inc. On the same date, Alcan Inc. was renamed Rio Tinto Alcan Inc..

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. is the global leader of aluminium mining and production, above its one time parent Alcoa (from which it split in 1928), Rusal and some Chinese public companies.


  • History 1
  • Product groups 2
    • Bauxite and alumina 2.1
    • Primary metal 2.2
  • Corporate governance 3
  • Takeover 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Founded in 1902 as the Canadian unit of Alcoa, it was spun off in 1928. R.E. Powell left Alcoa to become Vice President of the Aluminium Company of Canada (later Alcan) in Montreal, was President from 1937–57 and was then Chancellor of McGill University from 1957-64.

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. - 2008 (current company name)
  • In May 2015, the corporation announced that the name Alcan would gradually disappear to only keep Rio Tinto[1]

In 2008 Alcan Inc was amalgamated with Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc following Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc's acquisition of a majority of the share capital in Alcan Inc. Following the acquisition which was carried out by way of amalgamation Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc was renamed Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. [2] [3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

Rio Tinto sold assets from Alcan, including Alcan Packaging and Alcan Composites, in 2009, and Alcan Engineered Products in 2011. Alcan Packaging was acquired by Australian packaging giant Amcor.[6] Alcan Composites was sold to the Swiss firm Schweiter Technologies[7] and re-branded in 2010 to 3A Composites.[8]

After the union's contract expired on December 31, 2011 the company has locked out nearly 800 employees at its smelter plant in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec since midnight of the end of the year. The action was following nearly 3 months of unsuccessful bargaining and the further plant operations will be handled by the staff.[9]

In 2015, Rio Tinto Alcan is scheduled to move its HQ from the Maison Alcan and relocate to the Deloitte Tower, which will be situated between Windsor Station and the Bell Centre.[10]

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[11]
Location Annual Capacity (kt) Ownership (%)
Bell Bay, Tasmania, Australia 177 100
Boyne Island, Queensland, Australia 556 59.39
Tomago, NSW, Australia 520 51.5
Tiwai Point, NZ 330 79.36
Edea, Cameroon (Alucam) 100 46.7
Alma, Quebec 438 100
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
Husnes, Norway (SORAL) 164 50
Sohar (Muscat), Oman 360 20
Lochaber, Scotland, UK 43 100
Lynemouth, England, UK (closed March 2012) [1] 178 100
Sebree, Kentucky, USA 196 100

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:

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 was Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Alcan.


Alcoa Inc. announced a hostile take over bid for its progeny on May 7, 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. 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 changed and integration was finally completed.[12][13]

See also


  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ [3] Corporations Canada.
  3. ^ [4] Acquisition of Alcan, Inc.
  4. ^ The Top 200 - Canada's Largest Companies c1973-74 - Business
  5. ^ Staff writer. "Rio Tinto Alcan permanently shutting Quebec smelter, reducing refinery output". Canadian Press. January 20, 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ [5]

External links

  • Rio Tinto Alcan website
  • Alcan is named Americas Most Admired Metals Company by Fortune
  • L’impact de la perte de contrôle d’une entreprise florissante la prise de contrôle d’Alcan par Rio Tinto
  • Continuity Agreement Between Alcan and Gouvernement of Québec 2006
  • Rio Tinto Alcan AP Technology
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