Ormet Corporation is a major producer of primary aluminum in the US, and its operations run the gamut of aluminum production. In addition to refining alumina, the company, through its Primary Aluminum unit, manufactures aluminum ingot, billet (pressed bars), sheet, foil, and other products for the fabrication, extrusion, and conversion markets. Its aluminum smelter in Ohio has the capacity to produce 270,000 tons of aluminum per year. Its alumina refinery in Burnside, Lousiana, can produce up to 540,000 tons of smelter-grade alumina per year. The company sells exclusively to traders instead of end-use consumers. Ormet was founded in 1954 as a part of Olin Corporation.
Since emerging from bankruptcy in 2005, Ormet has been hit with a string of net operating losses. By the end of 2010, it had accrued about $217.5 million in losses. To get the capital to restart and continue the operation of its Burnside refinery, Ormet sold its bulk handling terminal on the Mississippi river in Burnside, Louisiana, in 2011. The sale to Impala Warehousing, a US-based subsidiary of Trafigura Beheer, went for about $28 million. However, restart costs totaled nearly $27 million. Following the transaction, Trafigura began providing terminal services to Ormet's Burnside alumina refinery, primarily offloading bauxite and loading alumina.
Trafigura is also a major customer of Ormet, which converts Trafigura's alumina into aluminum sow for a fee. The tolling agreements from both Trafigura and Glencore International take up more than 60% of the company's aluminum production. The two trading houses supply their own alumina to Ormet for smelting. In late 2011, Ormet and Glencore inked a three-year contract for Glencore to buy a significant part of Ormet's aluminum production beginning in 2012.
About 92% of the company's six pot line production for 2012 and about 75% of production from 2013 through March 2015 are under sales agreements with various commodity traders.
The company also looked in 2011 for a Chinese partner to form a joint venture carbon anode production company in China. The JV would build and operate a plant to produce about 95% of the annual anode supply for the company's smelter in Hannibal, Ohio. Carbon anodes are used in the smelting process, and shortages over the past three years have forced Ormet to raise its prices for the raw materials.
In 2012 the company also secured a bauxite purchase contract with Argentina-based Vale International, which will supply bauxite to Ormet's Burnside alumina refinery. The refinery consumes about 1.2 million tons of bauxite per year when it operates at capacity.
Net sales from continuing operations for 2011 were $585.3 million, compared to net sales of $432.7 million in 2010. The sales were related to the 2011 figures of 153,951 metric tons of toll and 105,273 tons of non-toll sow, while operating all six potlines. In 2010 the company sold 180,868 tons of sow while operating only four potlines. Higher prices in realized non-toll selling prices affected the revenues. – less