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NORSK HYDRO ASA

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Norsk Hydro's thirs-quarter buoyed by Brazil recovery

10/23/2019 | 03:02am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A view of alumina refinery Alunorte, owned by Norwegian company Norsk Hydro ASA, in Barcarena, Para state, northern Brazil

OSLO (Reuters) - Aluminium producer Norsk Hydro ASA reported a smaller- than-expected fall in third-quarter earnings on Wednesday buoyed by revived output from its Brazilian operations and lower input costs which offset softer metals prices.

Underlying earnings before interest and tax fell to 1.37 billion Norwegian crowns ($149 million) from 2.68 billion crowns a year earlier but beat the 969 million crowns forecast on average by 14 analysts in a company-supplied poll.

"It is encouraging to see costs coming down in our upstream business, combined with forceful restructuring and optimisation measures downstream," CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim said in a statement.

Upstream refers to the production of primary aluminium while downstream involves the process of turning the metal into products such as car parts or beer cans.

"It's definitely on the good side, all divisions came in above consensus," Carnegie analyst Morten Normann said.

The momentum for primary aluminium demand has weakened this year and Hydro said it expected global demand growth to hover around zero percent, with a range from a negative 0.5% to a positive 0.5% growth. In 2018, aluminium demand grew 3.1%.

The ongoing U.S.-China trade war has rattled commodities markets, pushing primary aluminium prices lower.

Growth in China's demand for primary aluminium is expected to slow to 1-2% in 2019 from 4.1% in 2018 and 8.0% in 2017, Hydro said.

In 2020, global demand outside China was seen largely flat, with a range from negative 1% to 1% growth, while domestic Chinese demand will likely rise by 1-3%, Hydro said.

As of the end of the third quarter benchmark aluminium [CMAL3] prices on the London Metal Exchange had dropped more than 16% from a year earlier, with Norsk Hydro's share price roughly tracking that fall.

Its earnings on Wednesday were expected to send the shares higher, said brokerage DNB Markets, which holds a buy recommendation on the stock.

Third-quarter revenue fell to 37.5 billion crowns from 39.8 billion a year earlier and also missed the 38.4 billion expected by analysts.

Hydro's operational problems in Brazil, which have weighed on earnings in the past years, have been resolved. Its Alunorte alumina refinery, hit by a production embargo following a February 2018 spill, has ramped up production since a federal court lifted an embargo in May.

($1 = 9.1662 Norwegian crowns)

(Editing by Terje Solsvik and Rashmi Aich; editing by Jason Neely)

By Victoria Klesty


© Reuters 2019
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALUMINA LIMITED -0.97% 1.525 Delayed Quote.-17.43%
NORSK HYDRO ASA 0.25% 65 Real-time Quote.-6.73%
OSLO BØRS BENCHMARK 0.90% 1255.04 Real-time Quote.3.53%
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Analyst Recommendations on NORSK HYDRO ASA
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Financials
Sales 2022 206 B 21 252 M 21 252 M
Net income 2022 23 783 M 2 448 M 2 448 M
Net cash 2022 3 884 M 400 M 400 M
P/E ratio 2022 5,63x
Yield 2022 12,5%
Capitalization 133 B 13 737 M 13 737 M
EV / Sales 2022 0,63x
EV / Sales 2023 0,70x
Nbr of Employees 31 000
Free-Float 64,9%
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Number of Analysts 14
Last Close Price 64,84 NOK
Average target price 77,64 NOK
Spread / Average Target 19,7%
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Managers and Directors
Hilde Merete Aasheim President & Chief Executive Officer
Pål Kildemo Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Dag Mejdell Chairman
Anne-Lene Midseim Executive Vice President-Legal & Compliance
Marianne Wiinholt Director
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