CHICAGO Noranda Aluminum
Holding Corp.s earnings fell sharply last year as the
company was hammered by lower aluminum prices on the London
Metal Exchange, lower shipments and losses in its bauxite
But the Franklin, Tenn.-based
company said it expects a brighter 2013 thanks to better
companywide operations and continued improvements in
"Although our 2012 results were
negatively affected by LME prices that, in real terms, reached
points that were among historical lows, we experienced
throughout the year stable, solid demand," Noranda president
and chief executive officer Layle K. "Kip" Smith said in a
statement released with earnings data Feb. 20. In addition, the
company benefited from "attractive" Midwest and fabrication
premiums for its key aluminum products.
Noranda worked through
operational problems, particularly in its upstream operations,
in the second half of 2012, and the companys upstream
business is currently producing at expected levels, Smith said.
Noranda also is more optimistic about 2013 given more
improvements expected in both the U.S. economy and LME prices,
Noranda posted net income of
$49.5 million last year, down 64.9 percent from $140.9 million
in 2011 on sales that fell 10.6 percent to $1.39 billion.
Fourth-quarter net income tumbled 82.8 percent to $4.2 million
from $24.4 million a year earlier on sales that slid 1.7
percent to $332.9 million.
Noranda shipped 572.3 million
pounds of primary aluminum last year, down 1.6 percent from
581.4 million pounds in 2011. The net cash cost per pound
shipped rose 8 percent to 81 cents from 75 cents in the same
comparison, but the average realized Midwest transaction price
per pound shipped skidded 13.7 percent to $1.01 from $1.17.
Also hurting results was a
$4.1-million loss by the companys bauxite segment in the
fourth quarter as a result of increased operating costs,
reduced shipping volumes and bad weather, Noranda said.