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

Century Aluminum plans to produce and sell 425,000mt of aluminum in the second half of 2020, though it anticipates that weak global aluminum prices will impact sales values. 


The company also indicated that, as part of capital expenses reductions, it plans to postpone reconstruction of the fifth potline at its Hawesville plant. Moreover, the Chicago-based aluminum maker has estimated its net plant cash costs will total $1,555-1,605/mt in the US and $1,335-1,385/mt in Iceland in H2 2020. These costs reflect reduced levels of $180/mt from the company’s previous guidance.


Michael Bless, Century Aluminum’s president and chief executive officer, said the company’s premium products have suffered because of COVID-19’s effect on some of its key clients’ order books. He added that the company’s plants have maintained normal operational rates throughout the ongoing crisis, but that the product mix has changed to include a higher proportion of its standard products, thereby reducing the selling price of premiums received from their top-of-the-line portfolio.


Supply has also remained adequate, Bless said, as the company has not seen any build up of inventory and has managed to sell all the material its facilities have produced so far.


During the first quarter, Century’s shipments were almost flat, increasing slightly to 202,905mt from 202,870mt during the previous quarter. The company’s sales, however, fell to $421mn in Q1 2020 compared to $436mn reported in Q4 2019, because of weaker aluminum prices across the globe.


The company’s losses decreased to $3mn in Q1 2020 from $5mn in the previous quarter, while its adjusted EBTIDA increased to $28mn from $13mn during the same comparative period. 


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