Business Irish

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Profits plunge 80pc at Aughinish Alumina

Gordon Deegan

PRE-TAX profits at Rusal Aughinish in Limerick have fallen 80pc to $4.9m (€3.7m).

The plant at Aughinish on the Shannon Estuary, which employs 450 staff, is Europe's biggest alumina refinery.

Profits are down on rising costs, which have squeezed margins at the plant from 5pc to just 1.4pc.

The Aughinish Alumina refinery has been valued at $1.2bn by its Russian parent, United Company Rusal.

At the end of last year accumulated profits at the Irish venture were $229.4m, according to accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office.

Its parent company Rusal is controlled by Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, who bought the Irish plant from the Swiss trading firm, Glencore, in 2007.

Revenues dropped by almost a quarter to $496.9m last year, according to the accounts.

The Aughinish refinery produces alumina out of bauxite imported from Guinea in Africa and Brazil.

The finished product is exported for further processing through smelting to become aluminium metal.

The pre-tax profit recorded last year follows the $24.5m pre-tax profits of 2010 -- prior to that, the refinery had not recorded a pre-tax profit since 2007.

Last year, the Rusal group recorded worldwide revenues of $12.2bn and profits of $237m.

Job numbers were up last year, driving up wage costs by 14pc to $50.2m.

A breakdown of the numbers employed at the refinery show 163 professional/management positions; 164 operators and 123 craft workers.

The pre-tax profit includes a non-cash depreciation cost of $24.7m last year.

Last year the future of the refinery was secured until 2030 after the company commissioned a 195-acre development with the capacity to hold over 17m tonnes of bauxite residue or 'red mud'.

Irish Independent

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