Novelis Inc. plans to boost research and development staff by 40 percent as the biggest supplier of flat-rolled aluminum products to global carmakers seeks to increase recycled content in products used in cans and vehicles.
Personnel including scientists and engineers at its research and development center located in Kennesaw, Georgia, will increase to about 140 people in the next two years from 100 at present, Jack Clark, chief technical officer of the Atlanta-based company, said in an interview yesterday in Seoul.
The U.S. unit of Hindalco Industries Ltd., India’s second-biggest aluminum maker, is more than tripling recycling capacity by 2020 to meet increased demand and plans to make as much as 80 percent of its products from recycled metal by 2020, Derek Prichett, vice president at Novelis for global recycling, said in October.
“People are becoming more and more aware and more and more concerned about the need to recycle,” Clark said yesterday during a visit to the company’s Asian headquarters in Seoul. “Recycling is important to our business and we have to focus on that.”
Aluminum for delivery in three months rose 1 percent to $1,900.75 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange as of 6:13 p.m. in Seoul yesterday. Prices have fallen 8 percent this year amid concerns that slowing growth in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, will damp demand.
Consumption of the light metal is expected to continue growing in China, Clark said. The Asian nation’s economy, the world’s second-biggest, expanded 7.7 percent in the three months through March 31, slowing from 7.9 percent in the prior quarter and 9.7 percent in the year-earlier period.
“The middle class is continuing to develop, which will only consume more and more aluminum,” Clark said. “Aluminum in cars is just getting started in China.”