Aluminium giant Rusal doubles profits

Shares in Hong Kong-listed Russian aluminium giant Rusal rise after the company doubles net profit

Russian aluminium giant Rusal said Friday it had more than doubled net profit in 2016 after selling off one of its refineries.

Shares in the Hong Kong-listed firm were up more than two percent in early morning trading after the announcement which saw net profit jump from $558 million to $1.2 billion year on year.

Results were boosted by the completion of the sale of its Alpart refinery in Jamaica, which went to China's Jiuquan Iron and Steel (JISCO) for $299 million in November.

But revenues were down eight percent after a rocky first half of 2016, which saw weaknesses in global commodities markets keep prices depressed.

Rusal said the drop in total revenue to $7.9 billion from $8.7 billion was primarily due to lower sales of primary aluminium and alloys.

The aluminium industry made gains in the second half of the year, with further optimism on an expected reduction of output from China, which has in the past oversupplied the metal.

"In 2017, Chinese supply will be challenged by significant cost inflation, environmental regulation as well as the continuation of supply side reform," Rusal said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange.

CEO Vladislav Soloviev described the 2016 results as "solid", despite a challenging start.

He said market conditions had improved and the company's results were also helped by cost management, production discipline and a focus on innovation.

Soloviev said he expected the market to remain "in good shape" in 2017, with aluminium demand to increase by five percent and the global market deficit to widen to 1.1 million tonnes.