Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Century Aluminum Company’s primary aluminum shipments increased in 2019 following a restart at its Hawesville facility and return to production at Sebree.


Michael Bless, Century’s president and chief executive officer, remarked that the business environment has enjoyed a reversal of fortune since Q4 2019. In addition to industrial activity coming back to life in key markets across the globe, the US-China trade pact has the potential to further augment these recent auspicious business conditions. Bless also noted that metal inventories remained low, despite rising during H2 2019.


Although Bless warned that the coronavirus outbreak has affected global economic activity and industrial commodities’ market prices, he noted that the price of alumina has settled and that input cost trends have aligned in Century’s favor. Additionally, power prices in the US and Europe are declining—possibly with a long horizon—and Bless believes it will help the company generate attractive cash flow.


The company shipped 811,244mt of primary aluminum last year, an 8pc increase over the 749,850mt in 2018. The metal’s shipments in Q4 2019 totaled 202,870mt, increasing by 2pc over 198,543mt during the previous quarter. According to the company’s earnings report, the growth coincides with Century’s Hawesville facility coming back online.


Century’s net sales in 2019 reached $1.84bn, but decreased by 3pc from the $1.89bn worth of net sales during the prior year. The company’s earnings report indicated that while it achieved higher volumes and product premiums, lower LME prices offset those gains. Its Q4 2019 net sales of $435mn are 1pc below its Q3 2019 net sales of $438mn. 


The company reported a net loss of $80.8mn in 2019, as well as a Q4 net loss of 4.8mn. Its adjusted EBITDA for 2019 was $31.2mn, decreasing by $117.2mn compared to the prior year period, while its Q4 2019 adjusted EBITDA was $13.3mn, a $25.5mn increase over the prior quarter.


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