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Norsk Hydro swings to Q3'19 loss on declining aluminum, alumina prices

Norsk Hydro ASA swung to a third-quarter loss of 1.39 billion Norwegian kroner, or 62 øre per share, against a year-ago profit of 925 million kroner, or 37 øre per share, as the company's realized alumina prices fell by a third and aluminum prices were down 19%.

Underlying earnings plummeted 64% to 606 million kroner, or 33 øre per share, as revenue slipped 6% to 37.52 billion kroner.

The results mainly reflected a decrease in product prices, partly offset by lower raw material costs and positive effects from higher production in Brazil following the lifting of the production embargo in May, the company said Oct. 23.

President and CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim said the ramp-up at Norsk's Brazilian operations is proceeding successfully, and the company expects to reach 85% to 95% capacity utilization in 2020 and full capacity from 2021.

The Brazilian federal court recently lifted the final embargo on the new DRS2 bauxite residue disposal of the Alunorte project, allowing it to resume installation and commissioning at DRS2 and ending a 19-month embargo that restricted activities at the plant.

Underlying EBIT nearly halved year over year to 1.37 billion kroner.

Bauxite output improved 67% to 2.15 million tonnes during the quarter, and alumina production rose 61% to 1.32 million tonnes. Primary aluminum production inched up 5% to 522,000 tonnes.

The company sold 245,000 tonnes of rolled products, rising 4% from a year ago, while extruded solutions sales fell 8% to 316,000 tonnes.

The Alunorte facility's capacity utilization reached 83% in the third quarter.

In September, Aasheim said the company aims to boost EBIT by 6.4 billion Norwegian kroner over the next five years through improvements and restructuring across its businesses.

As of Oct. 22, US$1 was equivalent to 9.14 Norwegian kroner.