Hindalco’s net slips 24% on lower aluminium, copper prices

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on February 12, 2020

Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries

‘Domestic demand lowest in December quarter, but recovery signs visible’

Hindalco Industries, an Aditya Birla group company, has reported that its December quarter consolidated net profit was down 24 per cent to ₹1,062 crore against ₹1,394 crore logged in the same period the previous year on the back of lower aluminium and copper prices.

Revenue was down 12 per cent at ₹29,197 crore (₹33,213 crore). EBITDA dipped 10 per cent to ₹3,676 crore (₹ 4,080 crore).

Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries, said domestic aluminium demand was the lowest ever in the December quarter and had fallen five per cent year-to-date this fiscal.

However, he said greenshoots were quite visible from December on the back of a pick up in demand from power projects, and the March quarter was expected to be much better.

Though demand in the first three quarters of this fiscal was down four per cent, the industry may register a flattish growth this fiscal.

LME aluminum prices have already been impacted by the coronavirus and have fallen to $1,720 a tonne from $1,800 logged before the virus attack. The recovery in prices would depend on how fast production in China recovers, he said.

With signs of recovery in domestic demand, the company expects to sell 60 per cent of production in India and export the rest, in contrast to the current trend.

Plans ₹2,000 cr investment

Hindalco plans to invest ₹2,000 crore next fiscal largely on downstream projects and ₹800 crore on annual maintenance. The company has spent ₹1,400 crore in capex so far this fiscal and plans to invest another ₹400 crore in the March quarter.

The company was not impacted much by the virus attack in China as it has only 60,000 tonnes of annual production capacity through its subsidiary Novelis and it has resumed production there.

However, he said there could be some impact on the supply chain and the overall demand, as China accounts for half of global aluminum and copper demand and production.

On the prolonged delay in the $2.7-billion acquisition of Aleris by Novelis, Pai said the arbitration order from a US court is expected by March while China has already given its approval for the deal.

The European Commission has sought more time to review Sanjeev Gupta-owned Liberty House Group’s bid to buy Aleris’ plant in Duffel, Belgium. Initially, Novelis had planned to close the Aleris deal by January 21, but it is now working without any deadline.

The closure of Aleris acquisition now hinges on the Liberty House deal in Europe and the arbitration verdict in the US, said Pai.

Published on February 12, 2020

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