The Alba smelter: performing in difficult times

The Alba smelter: performing in difficult times

Alba reports improved sales, output

01 November 2013

ALUMINIUM Bahrain (Alba) has reported it is satisfied with the sales and production figures for the third quarter marked by a difficult LME (London Metal Exchange) environment.

Third-quarter sales were up 4.2 per cent year-on-year to reach 227,758 tonnes versus 218,507 tonnes in Q3 2012 while production figures increased by 10,377 tonnes to reach 230,058 tonnes compared with the same period of 2012.

Sales figures for the month of September alone rose by 14.7 per cent to reach 94,000 tonnes. Alba continued to capitalise on the sound demand of value-added products and closed the third quarter of 2013 with an average of 66 per cent of total shipments versus 65 per cent for the same period in 2012.

Sales for the first nine months of 2013 inched up by 2.7 per cent year-on-year to 682,188 tonnes ahead of the company’s own forecast for the period. Production year-to-date was up 3 per cent, reaching 682,785 tonnes versus 663,214 tonnes for the same period in 2012.

Commenting on Alba’s sales and production for Q3 2013, Alba’s chief executive Tim Murray said: “Alba continues to push the envelope to maximise sales and cash flow.  Even during this difficult LME environment Alba continues to find ways to grow while competitors are reducing production.”

Alba will release its third quarter 2013 financial results and business outlook to the general public at the end of the first week of November.

The company held a Strategic Review in early October. The meeting, led by Murray, included the chief operations officer Isa Al Ansari, chief financial officer Ali Al Baqali and chief marketing officer Jean Baptiste Lucas.

The focus of the day-long meeting was to look at the challenges facing the industry, review strategies and boost competitiveness, gauge the potential of the changing market dynamics, study cost control options, and examine how to harness team work to boost greater productivity.

Commenting on the Strategic Review, Murray said: “Today Alba and the whole aluminium industry are facing difficult times with low metal prices. The key to Alba weathering this storm is proper strategy execution.  The recent strategy offsite was a time for Alba to align our priorities with the focus on maintaining our position as a first quartile cost producer.” 


HSE Review

The company’s progress in achieving a zero accident work environment was outlined in the Alba HSE Review H1 2013 that was officially distributed to employees and other stakeholders.

The report gives an overview of the core objectives of the Health, Safety & Environment department that is responsible for all safety-related issues across the company, expands on the zero accident principles launched in the beginning of the year and provides a summary of key initiatives and activities organised to further reinforce a safety culture across the organisation.

The Zero Accident Principles state that ownership of safety is everyone’s responsibility; working safely is a condition of employment; and all work related injuries and illnesses are preventable.

Killingsworth, seated third from left, gave a talk on the MBA programme in the US

Chief executive Murray, chief operations officer Al Ansari and chief financial officer Al Baqali met with HSE manager Abdulla Yaqoob Senan and other members of the HSE team to congratulate them on the publication of the report.

“Health and safety remain the single most priority guiding Alba’s operations, and has been one of the key focuses of our company since the beginning of this year. A sustained campaign to remind and reinforce a safe working environment was systematically organised to give more muscle to safety initiatives, and as a result, we were proud to announce four million work hours without LTI. However, we are keen on raising these targets even further till we are able to achieve our goal of establishing a zero accident work environment,” said Murray.

Alba’s information technology department won the IT Team of the Year Award at the ICT Achievement Awards 2013. The presentation took place at the Godolphin Ballroom, Jumeirah Emirates Tower, Dubai. IT manager Esam Hadi received the prize on his team’s behalf and commented that winning the prestigious award demonstrated the kind of success effective team work could achieve.

“Over the years, the IT team has followed a clear principle in strengthening the information technology backbone of our operations, namely, speed, agility and simplicity. It has enabled them to play a supportive role in bolstering overall production processes at the plant as well as in boosting interaction and communication between departments and external organisations.”

Last April, Alba was praised for its IT initiatives at the Bahrain International e-Government Forum and IT Expo 2013 where it emerged as winner of the e-Government Excellence Award 2013 in the e-Economy category.


Learning efforts

In other Alba news, the company’s continuing commitment to expanding learning opportunities for its employees and strengthening their knowledge base was given a boost with the launch of the MBA 2014 Programme.

As part of the programme, Alba’s Training & Recruitment department will be organising information sessions for employees by inviting guest speakers from renowned universities around the world.  These sessions will be for employees who will be sponsored by Alba to pursue their MBA in 2014. It will give them the chance to learn about primary requirements for getting an MBA degree as well as the salient features of the programme, application procedures and timelines in respective universities.

The very first information session in the MBA 2014 Programme was conducted by Kim Killingsworth, director of international recruiting and relations, Owen Graduate School of Management from Vanderbilt
University, USA.

The second information session was conducted by Amanda Barth, director of MBA admissions, College of William & Mary, Mason School of Business, USA.

Alba’s sponsorship of the Middle East Process Engineering Conference & Exhibition 2013 (Mepec 2013) held in Bahrain provided it the opportunity to support innovations and developments in process engineering, meet and interact with potential suppliers, and promote its products and services.  

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