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Mon 9 Feb 2015 06:27 PM

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Bahrain's Alba posts 153% jump in Q4 net profit

Aluminium Bahrain says it made nearly $92m in three months to Dec 31 but plans to cut 2014 dividend

Bahrain's Alba posts 153% jump in Q4 net profit

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), owner of one of the world's largest aluminium smelters, reported a 153 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit on Monday as output increased and product prices rose, but the firm cut its planned 2014 dividend.

The company made a net profit of 34.6 million dinars ($91.8 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 13.7 million dinars in the prior-year period, it said in an emailed statement.

SICO Bahrain had forecast Alba's quarterly profit would be 31 million dinars.

Alba's fourth-quarter sales rose 21 percent to 222.2 million dinars, which it attributed to higher product prices. On an annual basis, the company's production expanded 2.1 percent.

Its annual net profit for 2014 was 96.4 million dinars, up from 79.7 million dinars in 2013.

But the company wants to pay a smaller dividend for 2014; it has proposed a total dividend of 37.9 million dinars for last year versus 2013's payout of 50.7 million dinars. It did not give per-share numbers.

In late January, Alba warned that Bahrain would steadily hike prices of natural gas sold to companies, nearly doubling prices from $2.25 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at present to $4 per mmBtu in 2021.

An initial 25 U.S. cent price hike will take effect on April 1; Alba estimated this would add about $22 million to its costs for the last nine months of 2015. Bahrain's state finances have been hit hard by the plunge of oil prices, prompting it to seek ways to increase government revenues.

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