Aughinish Alumina plant back in the black with $14.4m profit

ECJ recently ruled Ireland must claw back €10m over State aid granted to the facility

Aughinish Alumina plant in Co Limerick: the European Court of Justice ruled against Ireland in a long-running legal case concerning the granting of state aid to the plant

Aughinish Alumina plant in Co Limerick: the European Court of Justice ruled against Ireland in a long-running legal case concerning the granting of state aid to the plant

 

The Aughinish Alumina plant in Co Limerick staged a remarkable turnaround last year, recording a $14.4 million pretax profit after reporting a $12.1 million loss in 2014.

The main activity of the Shannon estuary-based refinery is the production and sale of alumina, which is extracted at the plant from bauxite and then exported outside the EU for further processing to aluminium metal.

The facility, which was previously owned by commodities group Glencore, is the largest alumina refinery in Europe with 450 employees and the capacity to produce up to two million tonnes of aluminium oxide a year.

Earlier this year, the European Court of Justice ruled against Ireland in a long-running legal case concerning the granting of State aid to the plant. The ruling means the Government will be forced to claw back as much as €10 million in a move that could put jobs at risk at the facility.

New acounts for Limerick Alumina Refining Limited, which is now owned by Russian aluminium giant Rusal, show turnover fell by 4 per cent to $688 million from $719 million a year earlier.

Advance

The company entered into an agreement with Glencore in 2014 to provide alumina and received a $400 million advance. The accounts show interest of $14.4 million was charged on the advance in 2015 and at the end of the year, a total of $186.4 million was due to Glencore.

Limerick Alumina Refining Limited has no direct employees, but a related subsidiary, Aughinish Alumina Limited, had staff costs that totalled €49.2 million last year, down from €55.1 million in 2014.

The company said that while alumina prices fell last year this was offset by lower raw material and energy prices.

“The alumina refinery operation was steady and reliable throughout 2015,” it said.

Limerick Alumina Refining Ltd is wholly owned by Rusal Aughinish Holdings Ltd, which is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.

Its ultimate parent is United Company Rusal, which is the world’s second largest aluminium company. Its shares are traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange, with secondary listings in Paris and Moscow, and it is controlled by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.