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Aluminium shipments at quarterly peak for Novelis

Aluminium giant Novelis has reported its strongest shipping quarter since 2008, but pretax profit growth remained subdued in the last three months of 2013.

Shipments of aluminium rolled products totalled 721,000 tonnes between October and December 2013, up 11% compared to the same period in 2012.

Novelis said that was the highest quarterly figure in six years. Shipments were also up 1% in comparison to the three months to September 2013, despite it being a seasonally low production quarter.

Particularly strong were production and shipments in Asia and South America, the company noted.

In the last three years, Novelis has invested $340m (£206m) to increase aluminium rolling operations in Pindamonhangaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and poured some $400m in an expansion programme in South Korea.

However, sales in the period were only up 4% year-on-year, as the growth in shipments was partially offset by a 12% decrease in average in aluminium prices and lower conversion premiums.

Pretax profits were down 28.5% year-on-year to $10m.

“We have made great progress in the commissioning of our major expansions and we are now seeing the benefits of some of these projects in our results,” said Phil Martens, president and chief executive at Novelis.

“While external market pressures partially offset the bottom line impact of this volume growth, we are confident about the realisable potential for this business as the new projects come online.”

In December, Novelis announced a $205m investment to further expand its global automotive aluminium capacity to over 800,000 tonnes per year.

Martens added: “Ford’s introduction last month of the aluminium intensive F-150 pickup truck will truly be a game changer for both the automotive and aluminium industries and Novelis is in an excellent position to capture the significant growth ahead.”

Novelis uses 43% recycled aluminium in its products and aims at increasing the rate to 80% by 2020.

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