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Norsk Hydro upbeat on aluminium despite miss

Aluminium giant Norsk Hydro missed second-quarter earnings forecasts on Tuesday, but the company's chief financial officer was upbeat on the 2014 outlook for the base metal.

"We are in a situation where the world actually needs even more aluminium," Eivind Kallevik, CFO of the Norwegian company, told CNBC on Tuesday.

"If you look forward, it is really the transportation and the car segment that is one of the driving forces. There is an urgent need to reduce the weight of cars to meet regulations in the EU and the U.S. towards 2020 and aluminium is clearly the solution for this."

Source: Kallevik

Hydro reported underlying second-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 544 million Norwegian krone ($88 million) on Tuesday, down from 772 million krone in the first-quarter of 2014. This missed the 698 million krone forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

"The miss was across the board versus consensus, except for primary metal," said Citi analysts Jatinder Goel and Heath Jansen in a research note published after the results.

In a statement, the company said that "seasonally lower power production and prices weighed on underlying results", but this was partly offset by higher all-in aluminium prices and improved results in Hydro's primary metal division.

In a press conference in Oslo on Tuesday morning, CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg said global aluminium demand was exceeding production, with prices at their highest since 2012.

Some 13,285 thousand metric tons (kmt) of primary aluminium was produced globally in the second quarter of 2014, lagging consumption of 13,753 kmt, according to Hydro. This continues the first-quarter trend of demand exceeding supply—a reversal of the situation in 2013.

Shares of Hydro on Tuesday dipped after results were announced, before paring some losses.

Hydro employs 13,000 people across 50 countries worldwide, however, Kallevik said the geopolitical turmoil surrounding Ukraine and Israel would not hit business in the short-term.

"It is something we view cautiously, what is happening around the world. Obviously for our type of business, stability is always better than instability. But in the short-term we do not think this will have any impact on our business line," he told CNBC.

On Monday, Brandtzæg announced he was quitting the company to become the CEO of Norwegian fertilizers group Yara next year. This follows the departure of Hydro's chairman and the head of investor relations earlier this year.

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