ALVANCE, the international low-carbon aluminium business, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s sustainable industry leader GFG Alliance, has completed its purchase of the Duffel aluminium recycling and rolling mill near Antwerp in Belgium.

Founded in 1946, Duffel is a leading European producer of premium aluminium rolled products and a pioneer in the European automotive body sheets (ABS) market. The plant has the capacity to process 250ktpa and currently reuses around 104ktpa of aluminium scrap material, taking ALVANCE closer to its aim of reaching 1mtpa of capacity. The acquisition of the plant – to be renamed ALVANCE Aluminium Duffel – marks a significant bolstering and expansion of ALVANCE’s downstream portfolio and its ambition to be a leading supplier of value added, sustainable aluminium products to the automotive sector and other industries.

ALVANCE is committed to maximising both the volumes and variety of value-added products produced at the 1,000 worker site and plans to increase the production capacity by significantly investing in the modernisation of its production equipment. Duffel will also benefit from synergies with ALVANCE Aluminium Dunkerque, Europe’s largest aluminium smelter, which will include a direct supply of guaranteed high-quality primary aluminium.

The acquisition of Duffel will also add to GFG Alliance’s credentials as a significant foreign direct investor in Belgium following the acquisition of the Liege steelworks from ArcelorMittal in July 2019.

Today’s announcement triggers the start of a 100-day review programme during which ALVANCE, working with the Duffel management, trade unions, customers and suppliers, will complete a comprehensive analysis of the businesses to explore investment opportunities and develop detailed plans to boost its competitiveness, extend product range and support sales growth. A core focus of the 100-day programme will also explore how Duffel will play a key role in both GFG and ALVANCE’s vision to be carbon neutral by 2030 (CN30).

Duffel will also add to GFG’s drive to maximise “closed loop” operations across its value chain where waste or scrap products are either recycled by the site that produces them or by another plant within the group - lowering the carbon footprint of the business and extracting even more value from the process. Duffel already recycles a large proportion of its own scrap and will expand recycling to include any potential synergies with customers and Group sites such as Dunkerque.

GFG Alliance’s Executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said: “I would like to welcome the Duffel team to the family of GFG Alliance companies. Today marks yet a further milestone in our European investment journey and a step closer to our aim of establishing an end-to-end international low-carbon aluminium champion creating high-value products and sustaining high-value jobs.

“Duffel is a premium operation with a highly-skilled workforce. It is a market leader in body sheet production with potential to expand its capacity widen its customer offerings. We see that asset strength with potential and want to help drive expansion.”

ALVANCE Chief Executive Officer, Arnaud de Weert said: “ALVANCE is clearly a leader in offering low carbon and high-quality aluminium product to a growing market. We are building a new aluminium business at a time when other aluminium producers are leaving Europe for lower cost territories. We believe that our growing aluminium value chain based on low carbon production of a high-quality material with proximity to our customers can not only compete with products from further afield but outclass them. I’m delighted to welcome the workers at Duffel to join the Alliance on its journey to realise our vision together.”

In addition to the clear operational synergies, ALVANCE sees Duffel’s recognition as a sustainable business, through its ASI accreditations, as even more relevant to its own GREENALUMINIUM strategy and wider aims to decarbonise the group’s operations by 2030 through the CN30 plan. Sharing the best environmental and sustainability practices within ALVANCE and across the Alliance will be key to realising these ambitious plans.

Managing Director of ALVANCE Aluminium Duffel, Geert Vannuffelen added: “We are delighted to be joining both ALVANCE and the GFG Alliance and are very excited to help drive the company’s expansion plans. Duffel is on a path to create valuable opportunities for our employees and partners. As a business we fully support ALVANCE’s vision and ambitions for sustainable value-added aluminium and are proud to say that we see a strong correlation between Duffel’s values today and GFG Alliance’s own core values. We believe that as part of ALVANCE we will have the support to develop our site in a sustainable way and in so doing provide an even better service to our customers.”