- Russia's United Company Rusal Plc quadrupled its quarterly core earnings on Wednesday, helped by a weaker rouble and lower costs, and said it would remain focused on supply discipline and cost control.
The world's top aluminium producer said while all-in aluminium prices had fallen 20 percent this year, they had stayed above a long-term floor of $1,980 a tonne.
All-in prices have dropped due to a collapse in premiums paid for delivery, as more metal became available from London Metal Exchange warehouses and China stepped up exports of aluminium products.
"In the longer term, aluminium market fundamentals remain strong, and as such we expect a market correction and steady consumption growth," Chief Executive Vladislav Soloviev said in a statement.
Hong Kong-listed Rusal revised its forecast for a market deficit outside China in 2015 of 1.5 million tonnes but said lower aluminium prices could lead to output cuts in China.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to $721 million in the March quarter from $173 million a year earlier, just ahead of six analysts' average forecast of $712 million, according to a Reuters poll.
The jump was driven by an 18 percent drop in aluminium production costs, helped by a slump in the rouble against the U.S. dollar, while it also benefited from higher aluminium prices compared to last year.
With prices sliding this year, Rusal flagged in April it may idle 200,000 tonnes of smelter capacity in 2015, adding to the 800,000 tonnes of capacity it has cut over the past two years.
Recurring net profit, which is adjusted net profit plus Rusal's share of Norilsk Nickel's earnings, rose to $467 million in the March quarter from a loss last year.
"The decline in aluminium prices, physical premiums and strengthening of the Russian rouble from its lows are key headwinds for profitability in the second quarter of 2015," Barclays analysts said in a note.
Rusal's shares traded up 2 percent on Wednesday. The stock has fallen 10 percent this year, underperforming a 16 percent rise in the Hong Kong market.