Century Aluminum was formed in 1995 by Glencore International of Switzerland as a holding company for its aluminum-producing assets. These assets consisted of Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation, an integrated producer of rolled aluminum products at Ravenswood, WV; a 26.67-percent share in a 215,000 tonnes aluminum reduction plant at Mt. Holly, SC; and an alumina refinery in St. Croix that was subsequently sold.
Century became publicly owned in March 1996.
Starting in 1995, Century began a series of initiatives at the Ravenswood Operations to increase profitability through investments designed to improve efficiency and enrich the mix of rolled products. In 1997 Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation was renamed Century Aluminum of West Virginia, Inc.
Between 1995 and 1998, Century invested approximately $130 million at Ravenswood. Major projects included new anode setting cranes and central facilities for cleaning spent anodes in the Reduction Plant and a $28-million project to double the Rolled Products plant's capacity to produce heat-treated plate.
In 1998, Century acquired the cast plate operations of Alcoa at Vernon, CA. Alcoa was required to sell the business under the terms of its agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that cleared the way for Alcoa to acquire Alumax Inc.
By the end of 1998, the Ravenswood Operations had been transformed from a plant heavily dependent on supplying commodity-like aluminum sheet for the beverage can market to one supplying premium products to the aerospace, commercial transportation and passenger automotive markets.
In September 1999, the fabricating plants were sold to Pechiney SA, a large French aluminum producer.
At the time of the sale, Century Chairman Craig Davis said, "Since 1996, Century has redirected the product and marketing strategy at Ravenswood and made significant investments in the rolling operations to capitalize on the large-scale and unique equipment capabilities. Ravenswood has become a strong competitor in the growing and technically demanding aerospace and transportation markets. Yet, to further improve competitiveness, the rolling operations will require additional investment and the support of broad technological and R&D capabilities. These requirements are best suited to a larger, broader based company, such as Pechiney."
In late 2003, Pechiney was acquired by Alcan, Inc
Since the sale of the fabricating businesses, Century has focused on acquiring additional primary aluminum capacity. In April 2000, an additional 23-percent share in the Mt. Holly (SC) plant was acquired. In April 2001, Century acquired an 80-percent interest in its Hawesville (KY) Operations. The remainder of the Kentucky plant was acquired by Glencore. Century acquired Glencore's 20- percent share in the Kentucky plant in 2003.
In April 2004, Century took a major step forward in achieving its strategic goals of reducing costs and geographically diversifying its asset base. Century acquired Nordural Aluminum hf, a 90,000 tonne primary aluminum plant at Grundartangi, Iceland, which has been expanded to 260,000 tonnes. In addition, the company is actively pursuing a new greenfield aluminum reduction project near Helguvik, approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the city of Reykjavik.
The company owns and operates a 244,000 tonne plant at Hawesville, KY, a 170,000 tonne plant at Ravenswood, WV and the plant at Grundartangi, Iceland. Century also owns a 49.67-percent interest in a 222,000 tonne reduction plant at Mt. Holly, SC. Alcoa Inc. owns the remainder and is the operating partner.