By Jerom Bolt
ALRO S.A. (BSE: ALR, “the Company” or “ALRO”), one of the largest vertically integrated aluminium producers in Europe, measured by production capacity, is celebrating its 55th anniversary. Over the last five decades, ALRO has committed itself to its employees, partners and clients by being one of the pillars of the Romanian economy.
Starting to operate in 1965, ALRO currently has two divisions, Primary and Processed Aluminium. After constantly investing in new technology, ALRO reached a production of 265,000 tonnes of electrolytic aluminium per annum, a Cast-House capacity of 325,000 tonnes per annum, while producing around 100,000 tonnes per year of flat-rolled products. The Company has invested more than USD 700 million since privatization in technology and environmental protection.
"The modernization of facilities and the implementation of innovative technologies have led to notable achievements. An example is that the production of electrolytic aluminium made until 1989 can be done now with only half of the means of production we had available then, at a much lower cost and with greater care for the environment", said Gheorghe DOBRA, CEO of ALRO Slatina. ALRO’s efforts have been acknowledged over the past five decades by obtaining important certifications, such as NADCAP, EN 9100 and ISO 9001 for quality laboratory. "Investments in production capacity, in efficiently utilizing our resources and in employee training are part of the company's culture and can be easily recognized in our portfolio of value-added products, in our patents, in the certifications obtained, and in the trust we enjoy from partners and customers", added Gheorghe DOBRA.
At the time of its establishment, the Company had an electrolytic aluminium production of over 8,000 tonnes per annum and produced only aluminium ingots. Currently, the Company has a diversified product portfolio, and out of the total 2019 production, over 83,000 tonnes are represented by high value-added products for the more sophisticated industries, such as automotive and aerospace. Moreover, high value-added products used in the aerospace industry have increased by 40% in the last seven years, from over 27,000 tonnes in 2012 to over 38,000 tonnes in 2019.
ALRO has constantly implemented energy efficiency programs and applied circular economy principles in its business and has increased the quantities of aluminium scrap recycled and re-melted, having an Eco-Recycling facility with a capacity of 35,000 tonnes which reintroduces the aluminium in the production circuit with an energy consumption about 95% lower compared to the primary technology (by electrolysis). Thus, the Company has accessed non-reimbursable funds for increasing the profitability and development of new products worth over RON 115 million, the projects being completed in 2019.
Through investment and alignment programs to local and European regulations, the Company has reduced PFC emissions by more than 98% compared to 2002 and more than 39 times compared to 1990, and although it is one of the major consumers of electricity in Romania, ALRO has 99% energy efficiency for electrolysis technology due to investments done.
The Company's turnover has stabilized in recent years at more than USD 600 million, although market, business conditions and the legislative environment have varied widely, and this performance has favoured the development of horizontal industry and services in the local community, as well as the decrease of the unemployment rate. With more than 4,000 employees, more than 20,000 jobs that indirectly depend on the aluminium industry’s and ALRO Group’s activity. Besides this, only ALRO's contributions to the central and local budgets amounted in 2019 to almost RON 130 million (over USD 30 million).
"Regardless of the business environment’s conditions, the challenges encountered in the legislative framework or those of unforeseen events, ALRO has developed into one of the largest vertically integrated aluminium producers in Europe and one of the largest companies in Romania, remaining a pillar for local communities and the national economy", said Marian NĂSTASE, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ALRO. "We will continue to collaborate with and be supportive of our partners, customers, local communities and authorities, investing in the sustainability of our business, in new products and in innovative technologies that reuse and capitalize efficiently on the organisation's existing resources", added Marian Nastase.
The Company also aims to increase the professional skills and competencies of employees, leading to the improvement of their individual and team performance, through professional training programs, qualification courses, retraining, specialization, postgraduate programs and team buildings. ALRO is an active member of the local community and is involved in aiding entities, institutions and associations in the education, health or religious systems in Slatina and Olt County through specific sponsorships or actions. The Company also continues its long-term partnerships with academic institutions in the country for internships and supports students in acquiring their bachelor's, master's or doctoral projects, as well as in obtaining their professional qualification in the dual qualification educational system.
ALRO's investments in business sustainability, energy efficiency, research and development, waste, emissions and water management, integration of the principles of the circular economy, employee health and safety, as well as their professional development, alongside the organisation's involvement in local communities can be found in 2019 Sustainable Value Report on the Company’s website www.alro.ro.