Commodities

China Hongqiao aluminium facilities flooded as typhoon lashes Shandong

Facilities belonging to China Hongqiao Group, the world's top aluminium producer, were damaged by flooding after Typhoon Lekima wreaked havoc in the smelting heartland of Shandong, according to a statement from an affiliate firm.

BEIJING, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Facilities belonging to China Hongqiao Group 1378.HK, the world's top aluminium producer, were damaged by flooding after Typhoon Lekima wreaked havoc in the smelting heartland of Shandong, according to a statement from an affiliate firm.

The typhoon, which caused major travel disruption, made landfall in China early on Saturday in the eastern Zhejiang province, with winds gusting up to 187 kmh (116 mph), before travelling north through Shandong and off the coast. The death toll in eastern China rose to 44 on Monday morning.

In a statement on its official Wechat account on Monday, Weiqiao Pioneering, owned by the same Zhang family that controls Hong Kong-listed aluminium arm Hongqiao, said a wall on the east side of one of the Shandong-based group's aluminium plants was "immediately overwhelmed" by water flooding from the Xiaofu river at 11 p.m local time (1500 GMT) on Sunday.

The flood water came rushing into the plant area "like a wild horse," reaching a height of two meters in the deepest places, the statement added.

Appearing to report on a separate incident, the Wechat post said that a Weiqiao subsidiary had quickly moved to suspend production in order to protect the smelting facilities.

"However, the disaster caused by the flood does not stop there," it added. The flooding "severely threatened the aluminium subisidiary on the west side of Yuehe 6 Road," it added.

The post was accompanied by images of people wading through knee-deep water on the road.

Honqgiao, which is based in the Shandong city of Binzhou and has licenced aluminium production capacity of 6.46 million tonnes per year, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the impact of the floods on its production.

Two Shandong-based industry sources said on Monday that logistics were proving difficult for smelters in the wake of the floods, even if production was not affected.

Shanghai aluminium prices SAFcv1 closed up 2% at 14,185 yuan ($2,010.03) a tonne on Monday after hitting a two-month high near the end of the session.

($1 = 7.0571 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Tom Daly and Yilei Sun; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

((tom.daly@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 5669 2119;))

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