Profits plummet, salaries frozen

Alumina has suffered a 61.5% drop in profit on the previous year and will not pay a final dividend for 2008 in order to conserve cash.

The minority partner of Alcoa World Alumina recorded $168 million in profit after tax, a marked decrease on the previous year’s profit of $436.4 million.

Alumina chief executive John Bevan said the company had decided not to pay a final dividend for 2008 in order to conserve cash, but stressed the move ‘should not be seen as a change in policy.’

“The Board will continue to review the dividend at each half year in light of current and expected business conditions,” Bevan said in a statement.

Underlying earnings after the non-cash charge of $39 million were $202 million for 2008.

“The first half of 2008 was characterised by strong demand and a corresponding increase in input costs,” Bevan said.

“The second half saw a rapid fall in metal prices as demand declined in response to the global economic contraction. AWAC moved fast and early in response to the deterioration in global markets. Higher cost production has been curtailed and growth projects deferred to conserve cash.”

Alumina has also frozen some salaries within the organisation to conserve cash, with overall salaries expected to be close to what they were in 2007.

“Not all employees have their position frozen,” Bevan said.

“My salary is certainly being held very willingly for 2009 at the same level and we are looking to reduce our overall salaries in the year.”

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