Century Aluminum was formed in 1995 by Glencore International of Switzerland as a holding company for its aluminum-producing assets. These assets consisted of Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation, an integrated producer of rolled aluminum products at Ravenswood, WV; a 26.67-percent share in a 215,000 tonnes aluminum reduction plant at Mt. Holly, SC; and an alumina refinery in St. Croix that was subsequently sold.
Century became publicly owned in March 1996.
Starting in 1995, Century began a series of initiatives at the Ravenswood Operations to increase profitability through investments designed to improve efficiency and enrich the mix of rolled products. In 1997 Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation was renamed Century Aluminum of West Virginia, Inc.
Between 1995 and 1998, Century invested about $130 million at Ravenswood. Major projects included new anode setting cranes and central facilities for cleaning spent anodes in the Reduction Plant and a $28-million project to double the Rolled Products plant's capacity to produce heat-treated plate.
In 1998, Century acquired the cast plate operations of Alcoa at Vernon, CA. Alcoa was required to sell the business under the terms of its agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that cleared the way for Alcoa to acquire Alumax Inc.
By the end of 1998, the Ravenswood Operations had been transformed from a plant heavily dependent on supplying commodity-like aluminum sheet for the beverage can market to one supplying premium products to the aerospace, commercial transportation and passenger automotive markets.