Caixin
Dec 20, 2018 08:16 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Regulator Approves $1.84 Billion Boost for Chalco as Aluminum Industry Woes Continue

Aluminum oxide powder produced by Aluminum Corp. of China is stored at a warehouse. Photo: VCG
Aluminum oxide powder produced by Aluminum Corp. of China is stored at a warehouse. Photo: VCG

Regulators gave the green light for metals giant Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (Chalco) to sell shares to a range of state-run investors as it looks to inject funds while the aluminum industry continues through a rocky patch.

The listed company, whose main shareholder is state-owned behemoth Aluminum Corp. of China (Chinalco), said that the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) had approved plans to issue shares with underlying asset value of 12.7 billion yuan ($1.84 billion), according to a filing (link in Chinese) with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The shares will allow eight companies led by Huarong Ruitong (a unit of the country’s distressed debt manager China Huarong Asset Management Co.), as well as China Life Insurance and ICBC Financial Investment Co. to take stakes in Chinalco subsidiaries Baotou Aluminum Co. Ltd., (25.67%), Shandong Aluminum Industry Co. (30.8%) China Aluminum Industry Co., Ltd. Zhongzhou branch (36.9%) and Chinalco Mining Corp. International (81.14%).

The aluminum industry has been facing tough conditions, with an overabundance of supply and falling demand, while China’s domestic industry faces substantial pressure from tougher environmental regulations and rising pressure to cut excess capacity. Aluminum futures are down 14% for the year so far on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, an industry body, has called a meeting of the biggest producers for Friday to discuss the dire state of the market, Reuters reported.

Both Chalco and Chinalco remain profitable, with Chalco reporting net income of 640.9 million yuan in the third quarter of this year, up 6.8% year-on-year. However, both the state-owned entity and Chalco are feeling the strain of a difficult market. “We’re not very optimistic,” Chinalco’s deputy general manager Ao Hong, said last month. “We’re under huge pressure, so the company has to accelerate reform and cut costs internally.”

Analysts expect Chalco to continue to receive high level support from the government, despite being a listed company.

Contact reporter David Kirton (davidkirton@caixin.com)

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