our business
 
managing the economic turmoil
As for everyone, 2009 is set to be a challenging year for Alcoa of Australia, as we navigate our way though the impacts of the global financial crisis.
 
Earlier this month Alcoa Inc. (Alcoa of Australia’s US-based parent company) detailed a series of specific actions to conserve cash, reduce costs and strengthen the company’s competitiveness during the current economic downturn.  The announcement largely impacted Alcoa’s operations outside of Australia, but also reflected actions that had already been taken in Australia. Here in Australia however, we are not immune from the impacts of the global financial crisis and will continue to review every aspect of our cash flow and operations to remain competitive.
 
Alcoa of Australia began taking action in November last year when we announced the suspension of work on the proposed expansion of the Wagerup Refinery (Wagerup 3) in WA until market conditions improve.
 
Also in that month as part of Alcoa Inc’s curtailment of 350,000 tonnes of aluminium production across its global smelting system, Alcoa of Australia curtailed production by less than 5 per cent at Portland Aluminium in Victoria.
 
During December Alcoa of Australia announced to employees a decision to reduce contractors and consultants, impose salary freezes and capital reductions, restrict travel, and minimise the number of new people hired.

Managing Director Alan Cransberg said: “We have excellent businesses here in Australia which have been in a strong position for a number of years. In order to maintain our competitive position during these economic times and come out stronger, we’ve got to be aggressive about how we manage this business, in terms of making sure that we are benchmark in costs management, in people productivity and the efficient use of raw materials and other resources. These things will only be achieved by fresh ideas above and beyond our current methods.”
 
“I have been impressed in the past month by a number of operating areas which are already moving to a new level of achievement,” he said.
 
“These are uncertain times, but what is certain is that we have talented people running these businesses and we are all focussed on ensuring the business remains strong, competitive and sustainable for the future.
 
“I don’t think Australia has seen the worst of the economic crisis yet, and as it unfolds we’re all going to have to be pretty nimble and quick on our feet to adjust to changing circumstances,” Alan told employees.
Alan has also asked employees to be open to the possibly of moving to new roles within the business.
 
“We may move people around into roles that we believe are more vital to the company at that given time.  This tactic will ensure we are maximising the efficiency of the organisation, which will give us the best chance of maintaining job security for existing Alcoa employees,” he said.
 
“I also acknowledge the contribution of the unions which have agreed to defer bargained pay rises for 2009.
 
“Most unions realise that helping to protect jobs, over pay rises, has to be the priority at this time.”
 
Regardless of the economic circumstances, Alcoa’s Values will always be paramount. Our people, as always, are focused on running the business in a manner where we look out for the safety of one another and the environment, remain exemplary citizens in the business and our communities, and continue to be ambassadors for our company.
 
Alcoa sees the economic challenges as an opportunity to discover new and more efficient ways of doing business, and when the economic climate improves we will grow Alcoa of Australia.


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Bauxite travels from the Huntly mine to the Kwinana & Pinjarra refineries



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Bauxite arrives at the Wagerup Refinery



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Kwinana Refinery



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Point Henry smelter