Hindalco Industries, an Aditya Group company, has reported 71 per cent increase in December quarter net profit at ₹2,331 crore against ₹1,362 crore logged in the same period last year, on the back of lower cost and better realisation.

However, income was down marginally at ₹53,088 crore (₹53,517 crore). EBITDA was up 61 per cent at ₹6,322 crore (₹3,930 crore)

The company has pre-paid long-term domestic debt of ₹2,778 crore in the December quarter, taking the debt repayment to ₹4,370 crore in the last three quarters. The net debt of the company was down to ₹34,835 crore against ₹38,463 crore in the June quarter.

Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries, said that despite the flat aluminium prices the company has posted more profit due to the sharp fall in the cost of coal and other related operational expenses.

The cost of shipping has risen due to higher insurance and other costs. The company has suspended business with the European market after the Red Sea crisis, he added.

Going ahead, Pai expects costs to remain unchanged while LME prices would depend on global and geo-political developments. The demand for aluminium in China has bounced back sharply and the prices there are among the highest in the world, he said.

Earlier, the company’s US subsidiary Novelis said its first greenfield recycling and rolling aluminium project in 40 years at Bay Minette, Alabama, will increase to $4.1 billion from $2.5 billion, and the project would be delayed by a year. This led to the share price of Hindalco plunging 12 per cent to ₹510 on Tuesday.

On the sharp rise in the Novelis greenfield project cost, Pai said that civil work accounted for about 80 per cent of the increase since it was estimated roughly earlier.

“Since the project site is closer to the sea, the sand was very soft and more piling work has to be done. In contrast to the earlier plan of executing the project through internal accruals, the company may have to avail a bridge loan now,” he said.

However, the cost of the 6-lakh-tonne per annum project will reduce significantly from $7,000 a tonne currentlyto $1,500-2,500 a tonne in the second phase, when capacity is doubled, he added.