HONG KONG – Rusal (IW 1000/420), the world's largest aluminium producer, said Friday its net loss blew out to more than $3 billion last year as it was hit by record-low metal prices and one-off restructuring charges.
The Hong Kong-listed Russian giant said it lost $3.22 billion, compared with a loss of $528 million in 2012, while revenue slumped 10.4% to $9.76 billion.
However, Rusal CEO Oleg Deripaska forecast an uptick in demand for aluminium over the next two years, in line with a global economic recovery.
In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Rusal said it paid impairment and one-off restructuring charges of $1.92 billion, including the cost of putting on hold the Taishet smelter project in Russia's Irkutsk region because of a weak market.
It also said the price of aluminium had tumbled 8.6% last year to a record low of $1,845 per ton as demand tailed off.
Demand Increase Projected
Deripaska said that "2013 was another challenging year for the aluminium industry, despite consumption growth of 6% to 51.7 million tons."
However, he expect to see a 6% increase in the demand for aluminium between 2014 and 2015, along with "clear signs" that the global economy will improve.
Despite the news, shares in Rusal rebounded from earlier losses and rose 2.9% to HK$2.80 ($0.36) in Hong Kong at the close, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index was up 1.1%.
The company said its aluminium production fell 7.6% year-on-year in 2013, with total output for the fourth quarter alone diving 12.9%.
In December, Rusal triggered a judicial review of plans by the London Metals Exchange to reform how it stockpiles commodities to expedite deliveries of base metals, in particular aluminium, that are traded on it.
The plan announced in November of last year is aimed at benefiting consumers and boosting the LME's market credibility. But producers strongly oppose the plan.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014