Aughinish confident of US sanctions resolution
The directors of the firm which operates the Aughinish Alumina refinery have stated that they expect that a successful solution will be reached with the US Treasury over sanctions imposed on the Limerick company's parent firm.
The directors have made the upbeat assessment in new accounts for Limerick Alumina Refining Ltd (LARL) that show that an increase in the price of alumina last year contributed to the firm recording pre-tax profits of $50.6m (€44m). This followed the company recording a pre-tax loss of $40.58m in 2016 - a positive swing of $91m. The return to profit followed revenues at the company increasing by 26pc from $520.28m to $658m in 2017.
The directors state that the favourable environment for the alumina industry in 2017 resulted in the company recording the profit.
Uncertainty has clouded the future of the refinery since the US Dept of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on the Limerick's firm parent - United Company Rusal, which is controlled by Oleg Deripaska - in April of this year.
The directors state that the refinery continues to operate at full capacity "and since the announcement of sanctions, the company has experienced increased sale prices".
"The directors expect the company to be profitable in the years ended December 2018 and 2019." Numbers employed at the refinery remained static last year at 450 and staff costs increased from $50.35m to $52.8m. Directors' pay increased from $1.1m to $1.58m.