Bahrain's Alba 2012 profit slumps 54%

Aluminium smelter sees profit dwindle to US$256m for year on lower prices

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), which owns the world's fourth-largest aluminium smelter, posted a 54.4-percent slump in 2012 profits on Thursday, citing lower prices for the decline.

Alba reported net profit of US$256m for 2012, down from US$562.1m in 2011, according to a bourse filing in Bahrain.

The company also blamed higher energy costs for the decline in income. Sales fell 16 percent year-on-year to US$1.98bn in 2012.

Aluminium cash prices at the London Metals Exchange dropped 16 percent in 2012 with an average cash price of US$2,019 per metric tonne versus US$2,398 per metric tonne in 2011, Alba said.

The country's state-run energy supplier had raised the price of gas it sells to Alba at the beginning of 2012 by US$0.75 per 1m British thermal units (mmbtu) to US$2.25/mmbtu, Tim Murray, the current CEO, said in February last year.

Murray, who was previously chief finance and supply officer, assumed the CEO role in October.

Alba said on Thursday its board had recommended a dividend of US$52m for the second half of 2012, taking the full-year total to $105 million or US$0.74 per share.

In December, Alba said it had picked Bechtel Canada to conduct the feasibility study for its proposed US$2.5bn expansion plan to add a sixth production line. The move will increase annual capacity by 400,000 tonnes from its current production of 881,000 tonnes a year.

BNP Paribas is the financial adviser on the project, which is expected to be completed in 2015.

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