HONG KONG/MOSCOW - Russian aluminium giant Rusal has appointed a chief executive, it said on Monday, after reporting a 42% jump in third-quarter recurring net profit on the previous quarter as sanctions imposed by Washington were postponed.
The US Treasury Department in April blacklisted billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including aluminium exporter Rusal, citing "malign activities" by Russia.
The sanctions, the toughest since Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea, have been postponed several times as the United States considers excluding Rusal from the US blacklist if Deripaska drops his control over the company. The deadline was last extended to December 12.
Rusal named Evgenii Nikitin, who has been acting chief executive since May, as CEO. Nikitin had previously headed Rusal's aluminium division.
Rusal and its parent En+ Group have recruited directors and management not linked to Deripaska in recent months as part of talks with Washington over easing US sanctions. En+ also appointed a new CEO on Friday.
"Nikitin was independent from and not related to any other directors, members of senior management, substantial shareholders or controlling shareholders of the company," Rusal said.
In an update to its previously proposed change of domicile from Jersey to Russia, Rusal said that its board is determined it is in the best interests of the company to proceed with continuance out of Jersey subject to a number of conditions.
Recurring net profit at Hong Kong-listed Rusal was $623-million, up 43% from a year ago. Recurring net profit is defined as adjusted net profit plus the company's net effective share in Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel.
"The increase in performance indicators in the third quarter of 2018 is a result of a one-off recovery effect after a significant reduction in sales volume in the second quarter of 2018 when the sanctions were announced," a Rusal representative said.
However, the company still faced a "constant increase in production costs." The situation remained uncertain and it was highly likely that the impact of sanctions may be materially adverse to the business, the representative added.
The sanctions roiled aluminium markets as Rusal is the world's second-biggest producer after China's Hongqiao. Japan's top aluminium rolling company, UACJ Corp, said on November 1 that it was removing Rusal from its 2019 suppliers list due to uncertainty over the sanctions.
Prices for aluminium in London were up 2.2% year-on-year in the third quarter, Rusal said. Its primary aluminium production rose 1% to 940 000 t, while primary aluminium and alloys sales rose 8.1% to 1.046-million tonnes.
Rusal's Hong Kong-listed shares were up 3.8% on Monday, but are down 53% since sanctions were announced.
The company said third-quarter earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 23% year-on-year to $676-million in July-September on revenue up 19% to $2.92-billion. Rusal's net debt stood at $7.5-billion at the end of September.