Noranda Aluminum Holding President and CEO Kip Smith on Wednesday said his team is working around the effects of a major explosion at its New Madrid, Missouri, plant. The accident — apparently caused by molten aluminum coming into contact with water — is limiting the production of extrusion billet, a cylindrical aluminum product. Relatedly, the molten aluminum that would still be going toward that product is being redirected to other lines.
Read the company's full statement here.
Five workers sustained minor injuries Tuesday at Noranda Aluminum Holding's large manufacturing complex in Southeast Missouri when an explosion destroyed an area that manufactures material for use in construction and automotive assembly. The blast took place early in the afternoon and reportedly knocked out most of the wall of the cast house, where molten aluminum is cast into shapes.
In an email to the Southeast Missourian, Noranda spokesman Mark Christian said local emergency personnel as well as Noranda's on-site emergency response team responded to the explosion. Injuries appeared to be limited to dust irritation, smoke inhalation and noncritical abrasions, he said. All affected employees were released from medical care, with many returning to work Tuesday, Christian wrote.
Shares of Noranda (Ticker: NOR) fell more than 7 percent Tuesday to about 47 cents, adding to a slide that has seen them lose 85 percent of their value over the past three months. The company and its competitors have been struggling with low end prices for their products and Noranda execs two weeks ago said they had put on hold plans to ramp up production in Missouri. The company's board in June voted to explore strategic alternatives.
SEE ALSO: A Reuters story that includes a trader's comments about the possible price impact of the blast
A Hendersonville-based revenue cycle manager has taken over some of the billing services work of a Missouri hospital owned by the Mercy network. Xtend Healthcare's contract comes as Mercy officials reportedly laid off about 40 people at the 886-bed hospital. Read more here.
Noranda Aluminum Holding leaders have finalized $15 million in funding that will let them complete a rod mill expansion at the company's complex in New Madrid, Missouri. Franklin-based Noranda announced its plans almost three years ago and had initially hoped to complete the project this year. It will now be wrapped up next spring. Check out the details here.
Noranda Aluminum executives this week said they have crafted (with various consumer groups) a new plan to lower the cost of the massive amounts of electricity it uses at its Southeast Missouri manufacturing plant. The Franklin-based company and utility Ameren have been at loggerheads over the cost for years and Noranda last year cut 125 people after a previous rate cut plan was voted down. The new compromise proposal would have Noranda pay $34 per megawatt hour, down from the $41 it is now paying Ameren and up more than 10 percent from the $30 for which it was pushing last summer.
Noranda Aluminum Holding executives, their industry allies and the Missouri Office of Public Counsel are trying again to lower the Ameren electricity bill at the Franklin-based company's massive plant in Southeast Missouri. The coalition has tacked a rate compromise proposal onto an existing Missouri Public Service Commission case wherein Ameren is asking for a rate increase. Regulators didn't give that plan a hearing when it was submitted as part of another case this summer, saying it was submitted too late in the process.
SEE ALSO: Our other recent Noranda coverage
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