Alcoa announces sale of its Vidalia plant

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Multinational aluminum juggernaut Alcoa announced a major overhaul of its worldwide operations last week.

And while Alcoa’s plant in Vidalia escaped the scythe of &uot;restructuring&uot; that cut the company’s work force by 8,000, Vidalia Works has been deemed &uot;non-strategic&uot; and offered up to the highest bidder.

Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery said the decision to sell the plant was a result of a review of all the company’s holdings.

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Lowery said the company decided Vidalia Works’ product &045; activated aluminum, which is used to refine jet fuel and such &045; was too far from its new focus, Alcoa’s &uot;aluminum and core downstream assets.&uot;

The Vidalia plant, he said, also failed &uot;to meet certain criteria&uot; for profitability. &uot;It’s a combination of things.&uot;

Lowery said the plant’s sale is not yet imminent, but Alcoa has received inquiries from other companies.

&uot;People have contacted us,&uot; he said.

Alcoa has no projected date for the sale. Until it happens, Lowery said Vidalia Works’ 61 employees will remain at their jobs.

&uot;They will continue to operate the way they’ve been operating until it’s sold,&uot; he said. &uot;(Vidalia Works) will continue to be an important part of Alcoa.&uot;

All bets are off, though, once the plant changes hands. Whoever buys Vidalia Works is free to close it, revamp it, downscale it or increase production and double its workforce.

Lowery, however, said Alcoa sees a productive future for the plants it plans to sell.

The company’s official position is that Vidalia Works and its sister plants on the auction block might do better with a more attentive master.

An Alcoa press release reads: &uot;This is a solid, well-run business that may complement another company’s manufacturing capabilities.&uot;

Lowery confirmed that bit of corporate hope. &uot;Following the sale,&uot; he said, &uot;we would expect these businesses to flourish.&uot;