The ALCAN ALUMINUM CORP., the 3rd-largest aluminum fabricator in the nation, was created on 6 Jan. 1965 by its parent company, Alcan Aluminium, Ltd. This Canadian firm, formed in 1928, served the U.S. for years as a supplier of aluminum ingots. In 1960, seeking to enter the U.S. fabrication market, the firm purchased the plants of the Natl. Distillers & Chemical Corp. and the Cerro Corp. to form its American subsidiary. Although none of its plants were situated in Cleveland, Alcan chose the city as its American headquarters (moving into Erieview Plaza in 1966) because of its strategic location in America's industrial market. At the time of its formation, Alcan had already established itself as a producer of aluminum sheet and plate, cable, and powder. In 1969 it initiated an acquisition program, becoming a distributor of aluminum and other metal products, and entered the foil business. Within 10 years of its establishment, the company was among the top aluminum manufacturers in the country. The late 1970s were a period of tremendous growth for Alcan, which continued to bolster its product lines through acquisitions and plant expansions. The recession of the early 1980s brought an abrupt end to this growth, leading to some cost-cutting measures but the company resumed its expansion in the late 1980s, including the opening of the world's largest aluminum can recycling facility in Kentucky.

In October 2000 Alcan Aluminium Ltd. merged with algroup, positioning it as a market leader in the aluminum and packaging industries. Less than six months later the company changed its name to Alcan Inc. in order to reflect an increasingly diversified product mix and global character. Today, Alcan Inc. is considered to be a global leader in aluminum and packaging, with annual revenues of approximately US$13 billion. As of 2001, it employed 53,000 people and had operations in 40 countries. Alcan Aluminum Corp. continued to maintain its U.S. headquarters in Cleveland as of 2003.

In 2007, Rio Tinto acquired Alcan, forming Rio Tinto Alcan. As of 2012, Rio Tinto Alcan maintained a regional office in Cleveland.

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