Alcoa not seeking government help for Point Henry smelter

Alcoa has reportedly given up trying to secure subsidies from the Victorian or federal governments to help keep the company’s Point Henry smelter open.

The Australian reports that the US-based aluminium company will not be seeking assistance for the smelter at Geelong, which was given a $40 million lifeline by the former Labor government in 2012.

“I can confirm we are not seeking any additional assistance,” the national communications manager for Alcoa told The Australian.

The federal government has signalled a tough line on industry assistance, for example in the adjustment package announcement by Tony Abbott in December in response to Holden’s decision to end manufacturing in Australia in 2017.

Other troubled businesses such as SPC Ardmona and Qantas have expressed a desire for government help, and trade minister Andrew Robb has told The Australian Financial Review that the country should just accept its economy’s restructuring and “government mustn’t stop” this.

The Alcoa smelter, which employs around 500 workers, is now significantly more likely to close. It has been predicted by some analysts that this will be announced after a review of the Point Henry site is handed down in March.

Weak prices for aluminium and the persistently high Australian dollar have hurt the profitability of the smelter.

Meanwhile, Alcoa has announced a fourth quarter loss of $US2.34 billion, off the back of a $US1.7 billion non-cash impairment charge and weak prices for aluminium, Business Spectator reports.

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