Elkem is a company that produces solar grade silicon, silicon, alloys for the foundry industry, carbon and microsilica. Elkem is owned by China National Bluestar Group Co. Ltd. (Bluestar), which bought the company from Orkla Group for 2 billion USD in 2011. The deal excluded 85 percent of the sister company Elkem Energi AS.
The company serves the construction, transport, engineering, packaging, aluminium, chemical and electronic industries. Elkem has 13 factories in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
Elkem was founded in 1904 by Sam Eyde with the intention of development of furnaces and processes for electro metals. In 1917 a ferroalloy plant was acquired and Elkem starts production of the Søderberg electrode.
Throughout the 1960s and beyond Elkem expanded, primarily in Norway within aluminium, mining and finished products. In 1972 the company merged with Christiania Spigerverk and continued with an international expansion within ferroalloys and steel. In 1981-84 Elkem acquired Union Carbides plants in Norway and North America and in 1986 it acquires the plants at Thamshavn and Bjølvefossen. In the 2000s Elkem had acquired Icelandic Alloy, Remi Claeys Aluminium and Sapa (company).
Between 2002 and 2005 there was an acquisition war between the US aluminium corporation Alcoa and Orkla. At the peak Alcoa owned 40% of Elkem, but Orkla succeeded at purchasing the majority of the shares and in 2005 Orkla acquired all the shares of Elkem and Elkem becomes part of Orkla Group.
In January 2011 Orkla ASA signed a binding agreement with China National Bluestar (Group) to sell Elkem, including Elkem Silicon Materials, Elkem Foundry Products, Elkem Carbon and Elkem Solar for a sales price of USD 2 billion.
Elkem Carbon is the world´s largest producer of electrically calcined anthracite and electrode paste, which are necessary in the manufacturing process for steel, aluminium, silicon and other metals. There are production plants at Elkem Kristiansand, (Kristiansand), Shizuishan City (China), Witbank (South Africa) and Vitória (Brazil).
The foundry production is served at four plants, at Elkem Bjølvefossen, (Bjølvefossen), Elkem Bremanger (Bremanger), Chicoutimi (Quebec, Canada) and at Grundartangi (Iceland).
Ferrosilicon improves the characteristics of steel and is incorporated into windmills, trains, cars and most other mechanical devices. Elkem´s special alloys are added to foundry products and contribute to the customer´s increased productivity and reduced energy use.
Elkem Silicon Materials is one of the world´s leading suppliers of silicon and microsilica. Elkem has silicon plants at Elkem Bremanger (Bremanger), Elkem Salten (Salten), and Elkem Thamshavn, (Thamshavn).
Silicon improves the characteristics of aluminium, acts as conductor in electronic products, and chemical processing turns it into silicone. Microsilica is an extremely fine-grained silicon dust that is used as an additive in concrete, as lining in oil wells, as an asbestos substitute, in refractory materials, in fertilizers and in plastics. The use of Elkem´s silicon-related products contributes to reduced needs for materials and increased strength in the customer’s materials.