) whose bottomline took a hit in the April-June quarter of this fiscal due to weak aluminium prices
in the global market expects prices to recover in the last quarter as a glut in supply is likely to trigger capacity cut in China and Russia.
“In fourth quarter (January-March), price improvement is expected as about 100 million tonne capacity will be shut down around that time. The prices may look up then,” said Ansuman Das, chairman and managing director (CMD) of Nalco at the company’s annual press meet.
“The company’s profit margin would improve this fiscal amid an expected upswing in aluminium prices. We hope the operating profit margin will also go up this year”, he said.
The company had reported 28 per cent decline in net profit during the first quarter of 2013-14. The aluminium major, however hopes to close the current fiscal with a net profit of Rs 657 crore, up from Rs 593 crore in 2012-13.
Global prices of aluminium, that has varied applications ranging from soft drink cans to aircraft parts, has witnessed a steep decline since August on anticipation of weaker demand amid over supplies from China, which accounts for half of the global production.
Even Nalco has indicated cut in metal production for the current fiscal due to supply problems of coal, a key fuel required for smelting alumina. Company sources and analysts said amid a weaker rupee and lower aluminium price regime, it would be unviable to import coal for more metal production.
However, the company said it would look for overseas sites where it can get cheap power.
“We will continue to look after geographies which can offer us cheap power. The areas include Indonesia, Malaysia and Gulf countries,” Das said.
Power supply is a key component of aluminium production, accounting for about 35 per cent of total output cost. Nearly all aluminium producers rely upon captive power generation to run their smelting units.
Nalco’s 960 Mw captive power plant at its smelting facility site near Angul, depends upon Coal India Ltd (CIL) for its fuel supply. The company is yet to begin mining from its allocated Utkal-E coal block.
“In the priority list for coal block allocation, aluminium sector does not qualify for core sector like steel or cement. We will pursue with the government to include aluminium production under the core sector,” the Nalco CMD said.
In the recently-held annual general meeting of the shareholders, the company announced Rs 322.15 crore as dividend for 2012-13, which works out to Rs 1.25 per share at 25 per cent premium on face value. Currently, the Union government holds 81.06 per cent stake in the aluminium maker, after it offloaded 6.09 per cent shares through an offer for sale in March this year.
Since its inception, the company has paid Rs 4519.17 crore as dividend, out of which share of Government of India amounts to Rs 3,920.23 crore.