09 OCT 2023

Interview of Evangelos Mytilineos, Chairman & CEO of MYTILINEOS and President of Eurometaux at CNBC

Journalist: Evangelos Mytilineos joins us now, the CEO of MYTILINEOS, the EUs largest integrated alumina and aluminium producer. Let us talk about the supply in Europe. Because we know we’ve got a big European package that is designed to rival the inflation reduction act in the United States, at a time where there is a lot of Geopolitics around, when it comes for the supply in metals, just tell us, how you see the situation. Is Europe well placed for the future when it comes to the supply of metals and raw materials?

Evangelos Mytilineos: Thank you very much for the invitation. Stars seem not to be aligned for European businesses these days and especially the energy intensive industries. Unfortunately, Europe seems in disarray, especially after the war in Ukraine. There are disagreements everywhere, at the moment we have a huge disagreement between France and Germany, about the future of the energy regulation, the energy system in Europe. And this is spreading all over the place, each country does its own thing and Europe, as Brussels, does nothing. That’s where we are and that’s why Europe is so much down the ladder, half of the European smelters of alluminium zink and other metals are shut at the moment.

Journalist: It's been a very difficult journey for the industry for long time and I think the last time I covered alumina and aluminium was around the greenfield project in the United States. The idea was to remake industries from scratch, using alternative energy friendly solutions, regearing what has been, I guess, a lost – making industry in many parts of the United States. When we look at Europe and we think about some of the overproduction coming from various quarters of the world, how difficult are the conditions for the industry?

Evangelos Mytilineos: Very difficult. They are very difficult, at the moment we get a lot of units coming from Russia, coming from India and the Middle East. They’re replacing units that have been lost in Europe. European production used to be 5 million tonnes, is now down to 2,5 million tonnes and still going down. But nothing to be decided in Europe yet, unfortunately, on Friday we heard the bad news that the “green pool” sceme, which is a combination of decarbonization and support for the intensive industries has been turned down by the Commission after one year of negotiations. So, it looks difficult. Every company, every country is trying to save in scale. It’s really difficult.

Journalist: The European picture looks very very challenging. You’ve graphically said that, are other regions in the world that pick up the slack and if we can park the US for one moment. I’m talking about the Middle East, I’m talking about the China as well. How are these two regions look to you?

Metals in general, especially non – ferrous metals, they need a lot of power. A lot of electricity. It’s not only aluminum. It’s also zink, it’s also copper. Most metals, nickel a lot. So, all these industries, we’ll go closer to places where they can get cheaper electricity and raw materials. Europe has very little raw materials and has the most expensive energy from all major industrial centers in the world. Including of course, the far East, the United States, and the Middle East. So, Europe has to make a comeback, but to make a comeback we have to get ourselves together in Brussels, not one country on its own can do anything. And the haggling between France and Germany, about using the nuclear, like the France say, or the Germans say no, because nuclear a subsidy to the French industry, and all this thing is creating so many problems in Europe. And we cannot find a solution.

Journalist: So, I’m afraid you always join us at a time when this vast mind -  game on geopoliticas happen. We’re gonna have to leave there for now, but we always enjoy being here. And we understand that Europe needs to be together as coordinated group, rather than individual companies. It was nice to see you.