(Strategic Research) Hydro’s underlying earnings before financial items and tax increased to NOK 2,676 million in the third quarter, up from NOK 2,446 million for the same quarter last year, reflecting higher all-in aluminium and alumina prices, positive currency effects and strong contribution from the Energy business area. Continued production curtailment at the Alunorte alumina refinery and increased raw material costs had a negative impact. President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg said “The third quarter reflected our continued challenges at Alunorte and increased raw material costs, while higher aluminium and alumina prices, as well as strong Energy results, contributed positively. The market for aluminium is tightening, and we expect the 2018 global primary market in deficit.”
Underlying EBIT for Bauxite & Alumina increased compared to the third quarter of last year. Higher realized alumina sales prices and positive currency effects were partly offset by higher raw material prices and the effects of reduced production at both Alunorte and Paragominas.
Underlying EBIT for Primary Metal declined compared to the third quarter last year due to higher raw material and fixed costs, partly offset by higher all-in metal prices. In addition, there was a positive contribution from the sale of excess power following the production curtailment of the Albras smelter in Brazil.
Underlying EBIT for Metal Markets decreased compared to the third quarter of last year. Negative currency effects and a lower contribution from sourcing and trading activities were somewhat offset by improved results from the remelters.
Underlying EBIT for Rolled Products decreased slightly compared to the third quarter of 2017. Increasing margins and improved performance from automotive line 3 were offset by cost increases. Results for the Neuss smelter decreased, the positive effects of the new power contract, the UBC line and all-in metal price development were more than offset by increasing raw material prices.
Underlying EBIT for Extruded Solutions remained stable compared to the pro forma underlying EBIT for the third quarter 2017. The positive effect of higher margins and sales volumes were offset by increased production costs in connection with the ramp-up of new product lines in Europe, in addition to negative effects from a lower Midwest Premium and section 232 tariffs in North America. Additional costs due to the integration and restructuring of the two recently acquired Brazilian extrusion plants also had a negative effect on the quarter.
Underlying EBIT for Energy increased significantly compared to the same quarter in the previous year. The increase was mainly due to significantly higher prices and higher production, partly offset by negative effects from the repricing of an internal power contract with the Neuss smelter.