Noting the unique situation in which the global economy has found itself in recent months, Norwegian aluminium smelter Norsk Hydro ASA updated investors as to production volumes for the past two months, detailing a more or less increase in production but showing a steep decline in sales over the period.
Per the firm, production volumes for bauxite and primary aluminium rose on the year, partly due to a rise in output at its mining operation in Paragominas, Brazil. Alunorte accounted for the rise in alumina production by increasing output after the ending of a state-mandated production embargo issued after torrential rains in the area raised fears of contamination from the mine (fears of contamination from Alunorte ultimately proved to be unfounded). On the whole, bauxite production rose 94 percent to 1,761 thousand metric tons, and alumina production increased by 82 percent to 989 thousand metric tons.
Primary metal production rose on the year as well, increasing 5 percent to 341 thousand metric tons. A rise in production at Albras in April and May after a brief curtailment late last year helped to blunt the blow of the cessation of production at the Slovalco smelter in Slovakia.
Metal markets was off by 40 percent on the year, dropping to 55 thousand metric tons. Hydro chalks up the loss in a corresponding drop in demand occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sales of rolled products were also down, dropping by 21 percent to 131 thousand metric tons. The drop here was also a reflection of weak markets prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The story for extruded solutions was the same, with sales in this category dropping by 42 percent to 138 thousand metric tons.
Energy sales suffered the lightest loss, off by 6 percent to 1,342 GWh, likely also a casualty of the late pandemic.
Norsk Hydro, which was founded in 1905, financed by the Swedish Wallenberg family and French banks, began its life named Norsk hydro-elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (literally, “Norwegian hydro-electric nitrogen limited”) by Sam Eyde. The Norwegian government owns approximately 40% of the company at the present time. Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium companies in the world, with plants in Rjukan, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmøy, Høyanger, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Holmestrand. Norsk also has several plants abroad, including in Germany and Brazil.