UC Rusal books first-half profit on rising aluminium prices

31st August 2010, Comments 0 comments

UC Rusal, the world's biggest aluminium producer, said Tuesday that it swung back to profit in the first half of 2010 as a recovery in the global economy boosted demand for base metals.

The Hong Kong-listed Russian firm said it booked a profit of 1.27 billion US dollars in the first six months of the year, reversing a year-earlier loss of 868 million US dollars.

Revenue climbed 42 percent to 5.32 billion US dollars, Rusal said.

Rising global demand boosted aluminium prices by about 50 percent to 2,130 US dollars per tonne in the first half of 2010 compared with the year-earlier period, Rusal said.

"Recessions are followed by active growth and dynamic development, which we need to be prepared for," Oleg Deripaska, Rusal's chief executive, said in a statement.

"Continued recovery in global markets should generate good opportunities for growth in demand for aluminium, as it is a base metal required to support key industries and growing economies."

Rusal, the first Russian company to list in Hong Kong, saw its shares climb 1.96 percent to 7.80 Hong Kong dollars (one US dollar) in the morning.

Rusal also said the value of its stake in Russian miner Norilsk Nickel rose in the period to 7.16 billion US dollars from 6.7 billion US dollars.

"Based on current and forecast industry operating costs, as well as the strong demand for aluminium from China and the recovery of physical demand in the USA, Europe and Japan, UC Rusal expects aluminium prices to remain at current levels for the remainder of 2010," it said.

Rusal has been buffeted by the global economic slump, which slashed demand for its products, but it returned to profit in the first quarter of 2010 with earnings of 247 million dollars after what it said was "one of the toughest years" on record for the aluminium industry.

In December last year, Rusal reached agreement with its creditors on restructuring massive debts of 16.8 billion US dollars, clearing the way for a listing of its shares in Hong Kong.

© 2010 AFP

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