Novelis Inc. signed an agreement with the Changzhou National Hi-Tech District to build the company's first automotive-sheet manufacturing facility in China. The wholly owned, $100 million plant will have a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year and is expected to be commissioned for operation in late 2014. Novelis plans to ship rolled aluminum coils manufactured at its South Korean operations to the new facility in Changzhou for heat treatment and finishing before delivery to automotive customers within China as well as to export markets.          

The 160-acre site is close to vital rail lines, the Changzhou deep-water port on the Yangtze River and other business and commercial infrastructure. Novelis expects demand for aluminum in the global automotive sector to grow at a compound annual rate of 25% over the next five years as auto manufacturers look for ways to make their vehicles more fuel efficient. The company is also expanding its footprint in North America with a $200 million project to increase automotive-sheet capacity by 200,000 tons per year.