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Alumina hikes FY'17 dividend after swinging to YOY net profit of US$339.8M

Alumina Ltd. hiked its final dividend for 2017 by 200% year over year to 9.3 U.S. cents apiece after swinging to a net profit in 2017.

This brings the company's total 2017 dividend to 13.5 cents, up 125% year over year. The dividend is payable March 15 to shareholders of record on Feb. 28.

Alumina booked a net profit after tax of US$339.8 million, compared to a net loss of US$30.2 million in 2016, according to the company's Feb. 22 results.

The improvement was driven mainly by higher average realized alumina price of the company's Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, or AWAC joint venture, and lower charges for significant items, offset by AWAC's higher production costs and unfavorable movement in the U.S. dollar against the Brazilian real and the Australian dollar.

The company's 40%-owned AWAC joint venture posted a 1,739% year-over-year surge in its full-year net profit to US$901.3 million.

AWAC, which is owned 60% by Alcoa Corp., reported a 315% increase in its EBITDA to US$1.63 billion, as revenue rose to US$5.27 billion in the full year, from US$4.06 billion in the year-ago period.

Bauxite production from AWAC-operated mines rose 3.5% year over year to 38.8 million bone dry tonnes in 2017, while shipments to third parties rose 4.8% to 6.6 million bone dry tonnes.

Alumina output from AWAC-operated refineries slipped 0.8% to 12.5 million tonnes, with shipments declining by 1.5% to 13.1 million tonnes.

In full year 2018, AWAC expects to produce about 12.7 million tonnes of alumina and about 164,000 tonnes of aluminum. Bauxite sales, meanwhile, are expected to reach around 6.3 million bone dry tonnes this year.