Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminium producer, reported a 48 per cent gain in net profit for the first quarter of 2017, as rising sales of high-value products burnished the results of the continued recovery in aluminium prices.

The Hong Kong-listed Russian company said net profit for the first three months of the year was $187m, up from $126m in the same period last year, on the back of 20 per cent rise in revenue to $2.3bn.

The company, controlled by Oleg Deripaska’s EN+ group, said sales of its higher-margin products rose 8 per cent compared to the previous quarter. Total aluminium sales rose an annual 3 per cent, while average sale prices rose 17 per cent.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation rose 52 per cent to $475m, against a forecast of $489m seen by BCS Global Markets.

“The aluminium market remained in robust health in the first quarter,” chief executive Vladislav Soloviev said in a statement. “Aluminium demand is on track to grow by 5 per cent to 62.7m tonnes in 2017, supported by positive economic developments globally, all of which leaves Rusal well placed for the year ahead.”

Rusal, which issued a five-year, $600m eurobond and a three-year Rmb 1bn bond in China during the quarter, said net debt fell slightly to $8.2bn from $8.4bn a year ago, against a slight rise in assets to $14.9bn.

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