Novelis Inc. has announced that the arbitrator assigned to resolve its dispute with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) ruled that aluminium and steel are not in the same relevant product market for automotive body sheet (ABS) under antitrust laws. As part of its agreement with the DOJ, Novelis must divest Aleris’ plant in Lewisport, Kentucky. However, Novelis can close the acquisition prior to divesting those assets once it obtains European Commission (EC) approval of the buyer for Aleris’ plant in Duffel, Belgium.
“This decision ignores the reality of the automotive body sheet market and the competition we have faced against steel for years. Aluminium remains the material of choice for our customers, and we are going to continue to provide them with the innovative, lightweight and sustainable solutions they demand. We are moving forward with the acquisition of Aleris to realize the many benefits this transaction will bring to our employees, customers and the aluminium industry as a whole,” said Steve Fisher, president and CEO of Novelis.
Novelis will now work to divest Aleris’ North American automotive business, including the Lewisport plant, but can close the acquisition prior to divesting those assets.
In order to close its acquisition of Aleris, Novelis must receive EC approval of the buyer of Aleris’ Duffel plant. Once that approval is received, Novelis will close the transaction as quickly as possible.