India's Hindalco posts 63% slump in Q3 profit, sees "much better" Q4

By Ashish Chandra and Neha Arora

BENGALURU, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Hindalco Industries HALC.NS, one of India's largest aluminium and copper companies, reported a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly profit on Thursday due to high costs and lower prices, but expects "much better" results in the current quarter.

Benchmark London Metal Exchange aluminium CMAL3 have fallen off the record highs hit in early 2022, sliding over 15% so far into this year due to factors such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, recessionary fears and China's zero-covid policy.

Hindalco, owned by conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, said consolidated net profit slumped 63% to 13.62 billion rupees ($165 million) in the third quarter ended Dec. 31.

Analysts, on average, had expected a profit of 17.05 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Hindalco, which operates in 10 countries, said revenue from operations climbed 5.7% to 531.51 billion rupees, but that was more than negated by a roughly 15% jump in total expenses.

Moreover, the profit from Novelis, Hindalco's U.S. unit, and the company's aluminium upstream segment also fell.

However, despite volatile commodity prices, the company expects current-quarter results to be better due to lower coal costs and improved demand for both aluminium and copper, Satish Pai, managing director, said in a post-results press conference.

"We are quite confident Q4 will be much better than Q3."

Novelis, the world's largest producer of rolled aluminium products, on Monday, reported a 95% slump in quarterly profit due to higher costs and inventory destocking in the beverage packing market.

The profit contribution from Novelis, which accounts for almost 42% of Hindalco's total profit, dropped 25% in the quarter.

Profit more than halved at Hindalco's aluminium upstream segment, which includes bauxite and coal mining and is the second-biggest profit contributor.

Pai also repeated his "big concern" on aluminium imports from China and added that Russian aluminium was also finding its way into Asia. ($1 = 82.5080 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Ashish Chandra in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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