China's Chalco Posts Weak Profit But Shares Bounce


Aluminum Corp of China, the country's biggest maker of the metal, posted disappointing quarterly earnings, pushing its shares down nearly 6 percent on Wednesday before they bounced back into positive territory.

Factory, Anshan, China

The shares erased early losses and were up 0.16 percent at HK$12.78 in late morning trade, lagging a 2.2 percent rise in the index for Chinese firms listed in Hong Kong.

The firm, known as Chalco, said late on Tuesday its first-quarter net profit was 1.17 billion yuan (US$167.2 million). It did not give a year-ago comparison or specify whether the figure was calculated under Chinese or international accounting standards.

Deutsche Bank calculated that the net profit was down 33 percent year-on-year.

The profit decline reflected freak snow storms in large areas of China in January which disrupted transportation and forced the closure of Chalco's Guizhou and Guangxi smelters for most of the first quarter, the bank said in a research note.

Chalco's turnover fell about 30 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year ago and Deutsche Bank forecast the company's lost production at close to 500,000 tons.

Analysts forecast the company will post a net profit of 12 billion yuan in 2008, up from 10.2 billion yuan in 2007, according to Reuters Estimates.

Goldman Sachs said it expected Chalco to post very strong second-quarter results as operations normalize and aluminum prices pick up.

"Although we expect near-term share price weakness, we note the current share price at HK$12.76 is close to our trough floor support estimate of HK$12," it said in a research note.

Goldman Sachs maintained its "buy" rating for the stock.