UPDATE 1-Russia's RUSAL in Q1 profit slide, but beats forecasts

Mon May 13, 2013 9:48pm EDT

* Q1 recurring net $52 mln vs consensus of $47 mln

* Shares gain more than 3 percent

* Maintains f'cast for global demand to rise 6 pct in 2013

* Says expects Norilsk Nickel to bring significant returns

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, May 14 (Reuters) - Russia's United Company RUSAL Plc, the world's largest aluminium producer, posted a 45 percent drop in first-quarter recurring net profit due to lower aluminium prices but the result beat forecasts and its shares rose more than 3 percent in early trade.

Recurring net profit - or adjusted net profit plus the company's net effective share in Norilsk Nickel results - during the January-March period fell to $52 million from a restated $94 million a year earlier, RUSAL said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

That compared with a forecast of $47 million made by 10 banks and brokerages polled by Reuters.

"Going forward, RUSAL's investment in Norilsk Nickel will continue to bring significant returns and provide strong support for the company's deleveraging," Chief Executive Oleg Deripaska said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

RUSAL and rivals such as Aluminum Corp of China are suffering from oversupply and lower aluminium prices, and concerns about lacklustre demand have weighed on the company's shares.

Despite a volatile macroeconomic environment, RUSAL maintained its forecast for global consumption to rise 6 percent in 2013, with strong demand expected in the United States and Asia as a result of growth in the aerospace, automotive and electrical sectors.

It expected demand in Europe to fall 1 percent this year, slightly better than previous estimates for a 2 percent drop.

Global primary aluminium demand rose 6 percent in the first quarter. Demand in China climbed 11 percent, Southeast Asia rose 9 percent and India notched up 7.4 percent growth.

The company said it repaid international and Russian lenders $483 million in the first quarter of this year and had net debt of $10.97 billion as of the end of March.

RUSAL, which has a primary listing in Hong Kong and secondary listings in Paris and Moscow, posted a net loss of $337 million in 2012 and said it would shrink output for at least three years to curb market oversupply.

RUSAL shares rose 3.3 percent in early trade to HK$4.05, but they still stand at less than half their 2010 initial public offer price of HK$10.80. The stock has lost 20 percent this year, compared with a 1.5 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

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