Rusal Q2 profit surges despite U.S. sanctions

Reuters HONG KONG (Reuters) — Russian aluminum giant Rusal posted a second-quarter profit of $440 million on Monday amid higher market prices for the metal, remaining well in the black despite sanctions imposed on the company earlier this year by Washington.

Recurring net profit at Hong Kong-listed Rusal was up 75 percent from a year ago, but down 17 percent from the first quarter of 2018. The earnings figures were the first to be released since sanctions were imposed in early April.

Its net profit was bolstered by an 18 percent rise in the LME aluminum price over the period, while Rusal’s aluminum and alloys sales fell 22 percent year-on-year to 783,000 tons.

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including aluminum exporter Rusal, in response to what it termed “malign activities” by Russia.

The sanctions, the toughest since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, roiled aluminum markets and were later watered down. The Treasury Department has since warmed to the idea of removing Rusal from the list altogether.

In July, Washington extended a delay for investors to divest holdings in Rusal and some other companies from Aug. 5 to Oct. 23, saying it was in talks with Deripaska on how he could cede his control of the company and try to remove it from the sanctions list.

“The sanctions had a tangible impact on the company’s export activities, logistics, and operations in the financial market,” said a Rusal representative. “The uncertainty generated by the U.S. sanctions remains a major risk for Rusal and the company continues to manage this situation.”

Rusal’s exports and finances may take another hit if Deripaska is unable to persuade Washington to lift sanctions on the aluminum producer by late August, industry sources told Reuters previously.Speech

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