November 13, 2017 / 8:37 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's Rusal Q3 core earnings up 30 pct, beat forecast

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MELBOURNE/MOSCOW, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Russian aluminium giant Rusal beat forecasts with a 30 percent jump in third-quarter core earnings on Monday, helped by higher aluminium prices and rising sales of value added products.

It is the first results from Hong-Kong listed Rusal since its controlling shareholder - Russia’s En+ Group - raised $1.5 billion from a share sale in London and Moscow and announced Glencore’s plan to swap its 8.75 percent stake in Rusal for shares in En+.

Rusal’s third-quarter earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to $549 million from $421 million in the third quarter of 2016. Analysts had expected core earnings of $515 million.

“In the third quarter, Rusal set another record in sales of value added products with the latter reaching 50 percent in total sales for the first time,” chief executive Vladislav Soloviev said in a statement.

Rusal, the world’s second largest aluminium producer after China’s Hongqiao, aims to increase this to 60 percent by 2021, he added.

Total third-quarter revenue rose 19.4 percent to $2.5 billion.

Rusal shares were down 0.7 percent in Hong Kong, underperforming a 0.4 percent rise in the benchmark index .

Its stock has been under pressure since Oct. 11, when its other shareholders - Russian businessmen Mikhail Prokhorov and Viktor Vekselberg - sold a 3 percent stake in the company, increasing its free float. Prokhorov has indicated he is willing to sell his entire stake in Rusal.

The deals by Rusal’s shareholders come amid a 24 percent increase in London aluminium prices so far this year which have been supported by a cut in China’s production over winter that has spawned a market deficit.

Rusal expects global aluminium demand to rise by 5.9 percent to 63.1 million tonnes in 2017, with the global deficit widening to 1.1 million tonnes from around 400,000 tonnes in 2016.

The company also said it had cut its net debt to $7.6 billion by Sept. 30 from $8.4 billion at the end 2017.

It has directed part of its third-quarter cash flow to repayment of debt facilities and accumulated cash for further debt reduction, it added. (Reporting by Melanie Burton and Polina Devitt; Editing by Richard Pullin and Mark Potter)

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