Sanctions impact casts shadow over Rusal profit jump

MELBOURNE/MOSCOW: Russian aluminium giant Rusal warned of expected harm to its business from US sanctions, sending its shares down more than 7 per cent despite the company reporting a 20 per cent jump in first-quarter core profit.
Washington last month announced sanctions on Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and several companies in which he is a large shareholder, including Rusal, En+ Group and GAZ Group, in response to what the United States said were Russia’s “malign activities”. Though Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminium producer, said longer-term effects of the sanctions and the threat of additional future sanctions are difficult to determine, the company said it warned that the impact is highly likely to be “materially adverse”.
“In present circumstances, any forecast or outlook made or previously made should be deemed unreliable and may become irrelevant due to ongoing developments on the market at this period of time,” it said.
The company had earlier reported that adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 20.4 per cent year on year to $572 million in the three months to March 31 on revenue up 19.5 per cent at $2.7 billion.
Profit was bolstered by a 16.7 per cent rise in the LME aluminium price over the period, while Rusal’s aluminium output increased 2.3 per cent year on year to 931,000 tonnes. Net profit including returns from Rusal 28 per cent share in Norilsk Nickel rose 22.4 per cent to $531 million.
Rusal’s net debt slightly rose to $7.89 billion at the end of March from $7.65 billion at the end of December and net cash flow dropped 46 per cent year on year to $116 million.
The US Treasury last month gave investors an additional month to divest or transfer their holdings in sanctions targets Rusal, En+ Group and GAZ.
The extension followed an earlier US Treasury announcement that it would give American companies until October 23 instead of June 5 to wind down business with Rusal. — Reuters