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Century losses narrow in third quarter

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Aided by an acquisition in the past year, Century Aluminum Co. on Nov. 4 reported a third-quarter net loss of $9.5 million, compared with a net loss of $12 million a year ago.

Sales for the third quarter were $399.9 million, compared with $304.6 million for the third quarter of 2012. Shipments of primary aluminum for the 2013 third quarter were 212,797 tonnes, compared with 163,431 tonnes shipped in the year-ago quarter. Sales and shipments of primary aluminum for the third quarter of 2013 both benefited from the June 2013 acquisition of the Sebree, Ky., aluminum smelter. During the quarter, the Sebree acquisition added $101.5 million in sales and 45,843 tonnes in primary aluminum shipments.

Sales in the first nine months of 2013 were about $1.1 billion, compared with $954.4 million in the same period of 2012. Shipments of primary aluminum for the first nine months of 2013 were 547,843 tonnes compared with 484,226 tonnes for the comparable 2012 period. Sales and shipments of primary aluminum for the first nine months were higher by $140.3 million and 63,522 tonnes, respectively, as a result of the Sebree smelter acquisition, according to the quarterly earnings report.

"We continue to operate in an uncertain global environment," Michael A. Bless, president and CEO, said in the earnings release.

Bless noted that Century has received approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission for a new power contract at its Hawesville, Ky., operation, and the company has been buying market-based power since late August. Investment projects at its Grundartangi plant in Iceland continue on track, and Century expects to produce finished anodes at its new plant in the Netherlands in December.

"We are focused on the important next steps for our power arrangements in Kentucky. For Hawesville, we are working with the regulators toward finalizing the procedures necessary for future grid stability and energy import capability; we expect to complete this process in late 2013 or early 2014," Bless said. "Century and Big Rivers plan to file the market-based power contract for Sebree soon, allowing for approval by the PSC before the termination of the current contract on January 31, 2014.

"We continue to work toward creating the conditions necessary for a restart of Ravenswood and of the Helguvik project; while there is not a solution at hand on either matter, discussions with the various parties remain active and we are committed to finding a solution."