U.S. industrial firm Arconic said on Monday that it would stop selling the panels it manufactures and sold to authorities in London that were used to clad the Grenfell Tower, site of the horrifying recent fire that killed dozens of people.
"Because of the inconsistency of building codes across the world and issues that have arisen in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy regarding code compliance of cladding systems, Arconic is discontinuing global sales of Reynobond PE for use in high-rise applications," the company said.
Arconic Inc. (ARNC) - Get Report shares fell 6 percent on Monday and closed at $24.01 amid the allegations that it's linked to its involvement in London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire, the country's deadliest since the second World War.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Tse of Arconic's Reynobond PE cladding panels is prohibited in the U.S, among other nations, because of fire danger. The panels though have been widely used in the U.K., including the Grenfell Tower in London where 79 people died in a fire June 14.
Arconic shares fell 6.81% in New York to $23.80, after closing at $25.54 on Friday.
Reuters on Saturday reported that Arconic knowingly supplied flammable panels to Grenfell Tower, which was the sight of a massive fire June 14 that has killed at least 79 people in the fire that raged on June 14.
The company manufactures three main types of Reynobond panel: one with a polyethylene (PE) core, one with a fire retardant core and another with a non-combustible core, according to its website.
The PE panels, which were provided for Grenfell Tower, are suitable for buildings up to 10 meters in height, according to brochures Reuters said. Grenfell Tower is more than 60 meters tall.
The brochures also make clear the fire hazard involved with the product.
The six emails that were seen by Reuters date from 2014 and are between Arconic's U.K. sales manager and executives at the contractors participating in the refurbishment contract.
In the sales manager responds to a request for samples of the different cladding. "When conceiving a building, it is crucial to choose the adapted products to avoid the fire to spread to the whole building. Especially when it comes to facades and roofs, the fire can spread extremely rapidly," the brochure said.
Arconic provided PE panels, it said Friday. "While we publish general usage guidelines, regulations and codes vary by country and need to be determined by the local building code experts," the company said in an emailed statement in response to the Reuters enquiry.
While it is unknown if Arconic knew the height of the building, the emails refer to Grenfell Tower and other high-rise projects, Reuters reported.
London's Metropolitan Police said Friday the fire was caused by a Hotpoint fridge/freezer. Hotpoint is owned by Whirlpool Corp. WHR. whose shares fell 3.32% on Friday to $188.68. Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said insulation on the building, and the cladding panels, had failed safety tests carried out after the disaster.
Sixty high rise buildings in 25 areas of the U.K. have been found to have cladding and insulation that is flammable, which has led to evacuations of some blocks.
The police investigation was considering the possibility of manslaughter and criminal offenses in respect of the fire.
- Greg Morcroft contributed to this article.