October 16, 2014 / 4:03 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Novelis plans to shut Brazilian smelter by year-end

(Updating with more detail throughout)

NEW YORK, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Novelis said on Thursday it will close its Ouro Preto aluminum smelter in Brazil, the latest casualty of high energy costs and low metal prices as the world’s top rolled products maker focuses on downstream higher-value products.

The plant, which makes 18,000 tonnes per year of extrusion billet, will shut at the end of the year, it said.

While the plant’s capacity is very small compared with other big producers, the decision is a further sign of the tough operating conditions in Brazil, where energy costs are high.

Earlier this year, Alcoa shuttered capacity there.

Brazil’s primary aluminum output has fallen to around 1.2 million tonnes per year from around 1.7 million about seven years ago, Thomson Reuters data shows.

The facility opened in 1934 and was acquired by Novelis in 1950. The plant employs approximately 350 people. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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