AA Metals to reopen idled JW Aluminum mil

Nestor RentasGeneral

Published date: 11 August 2021

AA Metals has purchased JW Aluminum’s former Williamsport, Pennsylvania, plant for an undisclosed amount.

The Florida-based metals distributor will run the mill under the name Chance Aluminum and is targeting a fourth quarter start date for operations.

“We will start producing foils as it used to [before the acquisition]. We will expand to producing common alloy coils, which will be used in many industries, including building and construction markets,” president and chief executive Jack Cheng told Argus.

Investment in common alloy sheet and foil capacity has grown over the past two years as US trade cases against low-priced imports have helped domestic mills become more competitive in markets where they had lost significant share.

The newest entrant to the common alloy space aside from Chance is Texarkana Aluminum, a spun-off Arconic plant that began ramping up operations as a solo mill in mid-2020. The mill’s new parent company is Ta Chen International, another metals master distributor.

JW Aluminum closed Williamsport — formerly a 50pc aerospace-focused facility — in January, a year after shutting its St Louis foil mill. Neither mills had cast houses.

The company cited a downturn in aerospace business made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic as the main reason behind the divestment.

JW still runs two rolling mills in South Carolina and Arkansas, each with cast houses, allowing them to melt aluminum scrap.

Orlando-based AA Metals is a master distributor of aluminum and stainless products with operations in the US, China, Colombia and Turkey.

By John Betz