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Saturday November 10, 2012

Press Metal’s Samalaju aluminium smelting plant to double capacity once next phase completed

KUCHING: Press Metal Bhd has started testing and the commissioning of its new aluminium smelting plant in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu.

The company said the plant’s initial commercial production output would not be significant.

“However, it is expected to contribute positively to the group, barring unforeseen circumstances,” Press Metal said in notes to its latest quarterly results.

The Samalaju plant, owned and operated by wholly-owned subsidiary Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd, has a 120,000-tonne capacity per annum under its phase 2A. The capacity will be doubled when phase 2B production facilities — slated for completion in the second quarter of next year — become operational.

Press Metal’s 80%-owned Press Metal Sarawak Sdn Bhd currently owns and operates an aluminium smelter in Mukah with a 120,000-tonne capacity.

In the third quarter to Sept 30 this year (3Q-2012), Press Metal’s net profit surged by nearly seven fold to RM136.1mil from RM20.1mil in the corresponding period last year, thanks largely to the recognition of a RM149.5mil in deferred tax asset.

Group revenue rose 4.7% to RM609.1mil from RM581.7mil due mainly to higher output generated by the smelting plant. Earnings per share shot up to 30.52 sen from 4.58 sen.

Press Metal said the group’s pre-tax profit of RM20.5mil in 3Q-2012 was RM9.6mil, or 31.9% lower compared with RM30.1mil in 3Q-2011 due to lower metal price and higher financing costs incurred.

For the nine months ended Sept 30 this year, earnings attributed to equity holders was RM177.9mil from RM65.9mil previously.

Going forward, the company said the global business environment was expected to remain challenging in view of Euro’s debt crisis and China’s slower gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Meanwhile, AmResearch has maintained its “Buy” recommendation on Press Metal with a fair value of RM2.32. Press Metal gained six sen to RM1.81 after rising to intra-day high of RM1.85 on volume of 587,500 shares, while its warrants moved up 0.5 sen to 60 sen.

The research house said excluding the RM150mil deferred tax asset recognition, Press Metal’s 3Q-2012 results were below its expectations.

“We remain unduly concerned about any earnings headwinds that are gripping Press Metal in the near term,” it said, adding that Samalaju’s Phase 2A smelting plant should start showing some tangible results for the company beginning from the next financial year onwards.

AmResearch said as benchmark London metal Exchange’s aluminium prices appeared to have stabilised at around US$1,901 per tonne, it remained comfortable with its projection of US$2,000 per tonne for the fiscal year under review.

It said as Press Metal’s phase 2B production was due to come onstream by 2Q-2013 that would triple its annual production to 360,000 tonnes, this would be a timely move ahead of any recovering in aluminium de-mand.

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