Amadeusz Juskowiak

Comalco says lower costs help return to profits

Comalco Ltd said its return to profit reflected reduced costs improved primary aluminium prices and its withdrawal from a Japanese smelter venture

It said the earlier reported 571 mln dlr profit for the year ended December 31 against a 6913 mln dlr loss in 1985 was also aided by lower interest rates on US Dollar debt and greater sales of bauxite and aluminium

Comalco said it expected to pay at least a four cents per share final dividend delayed until July 1 to take advantage of proposed dividend imputation laws

This would make five cents for the year against a first and final of one cent in 1985

Comalco said the aluminium industry continues to suffer from low prices and excess capacity though the weak Australian dollar had helped earnings

Comalcos Commonwealth Aluminium Corp unit said earlier it has conditionally agreed to sell its Goldendale smelter in Washington and port facilities at Portland Oregon to Columbia Aluminium Corp Comalco said its extraordinary provision of 273 mln dlrs costs for Goldendale losses and closure may be reduced if the sales agreement were completed