Norsk Hydro, Oslo, Norway, has signed an agreement to invest approximately $5 million in Pianmeca, a Venezuelan aluminum casthouse. As part of the deal, Hydro will receive 33.3 percent of the shares in the company. Pianmeca is located in Puerto Ordaz located in the state of Bolivar at the confluence of the Caroni and Orinoco rivers. Pianmeca will produce approximately 30,000 tons of billets (extrusion ingots) and 8,000 tons of wire rod in 2001. Hydro plans to increase production through investment and plant improvements that have yet to be announced. The plant is located next to the Venalum smelter, which will be a supplier of liquid aluminum to this facility.