Russia's Rusal swings to net profit in second half

MOSCOW, March 17 (Reuters) - Russian aluminium giant Rusal said on Wednesday its adjusted net profit totalled $123 million in the second half of 2020 after a net loss of $172 million a year ago due to higher aluminium prices.

Hong-Kong listed Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer outside China, posted adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $652 million for six months ending Dec. 31, up 49% from a year ago, while revenue fell by 8.5% to $4.6 billion.

Rusal’s shares were down by 2% on Wednesday - underperforming the Hong Kong Hang Seng Commerce & Industry Index, which was flat - taking a hit from yesterday’s production downgrade by Nornickel, in which Rusal owns 27.8%.

Nornickel, a source of dividend payments for Rusal, reduced its output forecast on Tuesday due to inflow of water to its two mines which it is trying to halt.

Rusal, whose net debt stood at $5.6 billion at the end of December, said that global demand for aluminium fell by 1.7% to 63.9 million tonnes in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Further recovery in aluminium prices will support Rusal’s financial results in the first half of 2021, analysts at Aton said in a note. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Louise Heavens)