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Norsk Hydro to close plant in Australia

Weak environment in the aluminium industry.

The Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro announced today that it will close the Kurri Kurri plant, located near Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia.

The decision comes after consultation with the workforce and the unions. Norsk Hydro has been hit by the weak macroeconomic environment, with low metal prices, an uncertain market outlook and overcapacity in the aluminium industry, as well as the strength of the Australian dollar.

The Kurri Kurri plant, acquired in 2002, has three production lines with a total annual production capacity of 180,000 metric tons. One potline was curtailed in February. The closure of the remaining two potlines will begin shortly and is likely to take up to three months. More than 300 people are expected to be made redundant.

Hydro expects an expense of about NOK200m related to redundancies and an impairment charge of about NOK1.2bn in the second-quarter results.

The company employs 23,000 people in more than 40 countries.