Bahrain's Alba makes $42m Q1 loss as CEO Tim Murray exits to the US

Bahrain's largest aluminium smelter, Alba, swung from profit to loss in Q1 2019 as chinese tariffs and higher prices bite

Alba's Line 6 Expansion will make it one of the world's largest aluminium smelters.
Alba's Line 6 Expansion will make it one of the world's largest aluminium smelters.

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), one of the world’s biggest aluminium smelters, has made a net loss of $42m (BHD15.8m) in Q1 2019 – and its chief executive officer (CEO), Tim Murray, is stepping down.

Alba’s lurch from black to red marks a 147% drop when compared to $90m (BHD33.9m) it made in net profit during the first three months of 2018, following higher prices and Chinese tariffs. 

Alba has also confirmed that Murray, who has been CEO for seven years, will step down on 31 July, 2019 to relocate to the US. He will remain a private adviser to Alba’s chairman.

Ali Al Baqali, Alba’s deputy CEO, will succeed Murray and will take over on 1 August, 2019.

Chairman of Alba’s board of directors, Shaikh Daij Bin Salman Bin Daij Al Khalifa, praised Murray’s “instrumental” role in leading the development of its massive Line 6 Expansion, which was commissioned ahead of schedule in 2018.

Al Khalifa also credited him with transforming Alba’s safety culture.

The smelter’s chairman, though, has warned of a challenging time ahead for the loss-making industrial heavyweight.

“As we are facing many headwinds in the market, in particular the impact of higher alumina prices, we will be focused on our Project Titan programme, as well as [increasing] our production to offset the market challenges in the second half of this year,” he said.

Project Titan is Alba’s multi-phased cost-cutting initiative. The company hopes to save up to $40m (BHD15m) by the end of 2019 under the scheme. 

In conjunction to identifying cost efficiencies under Project Titan, Alba hopes to complete the safe ramp-up of Line 6 in Q3 2019.

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