ALUMINIUM product manufacturer Hulamin gained 1,8% to R5,60 yesterday after saying its Camps Drift hot finishing mill has been repaired and recommissioned, 46 days after a failure in its main 68-ton motor.

It said production of thicker gauge plate and production from the mill's twin roll casters continued during the outage, with production losses limited to about 25000 tons.

But it could not divulge what lost production might cost until the insurance claim was settled, nor whether this would materially affect group results.

"All our products were affected - for example, can end stock, foil, automotive brazing sheet, thinner gauge plate and sheet and coil - except the thick gauge plate and certain alloy standard sheet and coil products," CEO Richard Jacob said yesterday.

He said, to varying degrees, almost all customers were affected. "Our first priority is to complete the safe, predictable and risk-free normalisation of the mill," he said.

"We are prioritising those customers for whom we are a sole supplier, and all customers where there are specific priorities."

Hulamin said available inventory had been processed.

Maintenance to the Camps Drift remelt facility, which was pulled forward to coincide with the breakdown, had been completed as planned.

"The 25000 tons represents 10% of production capacity, so is a fairly material number," Rubin Renecke, an analyst at Kagiso Asset Management, said.

But he said assessing the effect on Hulamin's bottom line was difficult, because inventory was processed during the time the plant was being fixed, which should offset some of the lost production.

As a primary beneficiator of metal, Hulamin is one of SA's major manufacturers, having carved a niche in the global aluminium rolled products market.

allixm@bdfm.co.za