Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa was arrested today by the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID).Rajapaksa was arrested after being questioned over shares he had acquired from Hello Corp. Namal Rajapaksa was arrested earlier this year as well but was later released on his bail.He produced in court today and was remanded till August 22.
Alcoa, a leading aluminium producer, has detailed a series of specific actions to conserve cash, reduce costs and strengthen the company’s competitiveness during the current economic downturn. Building on the company’s commitment from October, these actions address additional production curtailments, cost and procurement efficiencies, portfolio streamlining and reduction of capital expenditures and other liquidity enhancements. Klaus Kleinfeld, President and CEO of Alcoa Inc said: “we are taking a wide-ranging set of aggressive, but prudent, measures to ensure that Alcoa maintains its competitive lead in today’s challenging markets while also emerging even stronger when the economy recovers.”Smelting reductions of more than 135,000 t/y will be implemented resulting in reduction of total primary aluminium output by more than 750,000 t/y, or 18% of annualised output. Alumina production will also be reduced accordingly across the global refining system to a total of 1.5 Mt/y in response to market conditions. Curtailments will be fully implemented by the end of the first quarter 2009.Targeted reductions, curtailments and plant closures and consolidations will reduce headcount by more than 13,500 employees or 13% of the company’s worldwide workforce by the end of 2009. An additional 1,700 contractor positions also will be eliminated. It has also instituted a global salary and hiring freeze.Accelerated procurement actions to address major input costs such as energy, coke, caustic soda, and aluminium fluoride will provide significant short term cash benefits. Initiatives to secure raw materials from alternate suppliers globally are providing cost advantages for several key inputs. These actions are expected to yield savings of greater than 20% in each of the materials. Lower market oil and gas prices are also having a positive impact.Alcoa and ORKLA ASA have agreed to exchange their stakes in a Norwegian smelting partnership and a Swedish extrusion joint venture in order to focus on their respective areas of expertise and best practices. Alcoa will receive Orkla’s 50% stake in Elkem Aluminum and Orkla will receive Alcoa’s 45% stake in the SAPA extrusion profiles business. Elkem Aluminum, which will be 100% owned by Alcoa following the transaction, includes aluminium smelters in Lista and Mosjoen, Norway with a combined output of 282,000 t/y. Included in the transaction is Elkem’s stake in a newly opened anode plant in Mosjoen in which Alcoa already holds an approximate 82% stake.Alcoa also intends to relinquish four non-core downstream businesses: Electrical and Electronic Systems; Global Foil; Cast Auto Wheels; and Transportation Products Europe. The businesses to be sold had 2008 combined revenues of $1.8 billion and an estimated after-tax operating loss of approximately $105 million. The businesses employ a combined 22,600 people at 38 locations. Expected net proceeds for the divestitures are estimated to be some $100 million.Building on the previously announced initiative to conserve cash and suspend the company’s share repurchase program, Alcoa is stopping all non-critical capital investment. Capital expenditures in 2009 are projected to be down to $1.8 billion, a 50% decrease from 2008, and will be $1.5 billion after partner contributions. Capital spending includes about $750 million for the completion of key Brazilian growth projects. The Sao Luis refinery expansion and the greenfield Juruti bauxite mine are scheduled to be finished in the first half of 2009.Total charges for the fourth quarter 2008 due to restructuring, impairment and other special charges are expected to be between $900 and $950 million after tax, of which some 80% is non-cash. The restructuring and divestiture program is expected to save about $450 million before taxes on an annualised basis.“Because we recently completed an extensive competitive analysis, including a strategic review of each business, we have been able to quickly identify and implement effective responses that strengthen our market competitiveness and financial staying power in the economic downturn. We will continue to monitor the dynamic market situation to ensure that we adjust capacity to meet any future changes in demand and seize new opportunities that emerge. These are extraordinary times requiring extraordinary actions,” said Kleinfeld.