Noranda posts Q2 operating profit

Missouri regulators considering rate compromise for massive plant

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. posted a net loss in the second quarter of $7.6 million, an improvement from the $12.3 million it lost in the same period a year earlier. The Franklin-based company did post a $2.7 million operating profit, its first since the Q1 of 2013, as pricing improved from earlier this year and executives continued to focus on containing costs.

Revenues at Noranda finished the second quarter at $346 million, down from $352 million a year earlier, but total segment profit climbed to $30.4 million from $25.0 million due mainly to an $11 million improvement in the company's primary aluminum operations.

Noranda President and CEO Kip Smith and his team have been focused in recent quarters on preserving their cash as they battle low end-product pricing and lobby to lower the Ameren electric bill of their large manufacturing plant in Southeast Missouri. The Missouri Public Service Commission has before it a five-year compromise plan floated by the state's Office of the Public Counsel but has not said when it will make a decision.

"We improved the operating reliability of our business, focused on preserving liquidity and continued to make accretive investments in growth and productivity," said President and CEO Kip Smith said of the Q2 numbers. "Recent favorable volatility in aluminum prices is encouraging but not enough; the fact remains that the power rate for New Madrid is today the second highest of the nine smelters remaining in the United States, and no aluminum smelter can survive with an unsustainable power rate.”

Shares of Noranda (Ticker: NOR) closed Monday trading at $4.42. Year to date, they're up more than 30 percent.