Rusal upbeat about aluminium demand

City A.M. Reporter
RUSAL, the world’s biggest aluminium producer, said yesterday it expects the aluminium market to improve this year with the global recovery, prompting it to boost production and restart a mothballed plant.

The Russian firm, which raised $2.2bn (£1.4bn) when it became the first non-Asian company to list in Hong Kong earlier this year, posted a net profit for the last six months of 2009 of $1.69bn.

That compared with a loss of $7.4bn a year earlier and a consensus forecast of a $1.4bn profit for the last half of the year

Rusal said in its statement it would boost alumina output by 11 per cent this year and aluminium by three per cent as the market improves. It said it planned to increase alumina production by 800,000 metric tonnes, and aluminum production by 100,000 metric tonnes.

Aluminium prices were below Its forecast of above $2,000 per metric tonne for the first half of 2009 at the height of the global crisis, but were generally higher than that for most of the second half of the year. They now stand at about $2,400 per metric tonne.

It said due to improving conditions, it plans to restart operations of its Ewarton Works plant in Jamaica, mothballed in 2009 due to cost cuts. It said it plans to produce about 321,000 metric tones per year of alumina at the plant this year, or about half of its capacity.

A company spokesman said: “The company will continue focusing on efficiency improvements by optimisation of raw materials supply, power consumption, logistics and reduction in overheads, as well as steady deleveraging through operating cash flows.”