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Noranda Reports First Quarter 2012 Results

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation (NYSE: NOR) today reported results for first quarter 2012.

"Our first quarter 2012 results demonstrate that we operated effectively and reliably across our integrated business platform," said Layle K. (Kip) Smith, Noranda's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We saw stable demand and attractive premiums for our key products. Through our CORE program, we continued to achieve productivity gains and began to capture modest reductions in the costs of certain major inputs. We opportunistically refinanced our senior secured credit facility and repaid $75 million of our senior floating rate notes, extending our debt maturity profile while distributing approximately $87 million to our equity holders and providing approximately $70 million to invest in our businesses."

Noranda reported first quarter 2012 net income of $16.2 million ($0.24 per diluted share), compared to fourth quarter 2011 net income of $24.4 million ($0.36 per diluted share) and first quarter 2011 net income of $38.3 million ($0.56 per diluted share). Excluding special items, Noranda reported first quarter 2012 net income of $12.7 million ($0.18 per diluted share), compared to $0.6 million ($0.01 per diluted share) in fourth quarter 2011 and first quarter 2011 net income of $23.8 million ($0.35 per diluted share).

First Quarter 2012 Results

Sales for first quarter 2012 were $353.5 million, compared to $338.5 million in fourth quarter 2011 and $394.6 million in first quarter 2011.
  • Comparing first quarter 2012 to fourth quarter 2011, sales increased $15.0 million, driven primarily by the Flat-Rolled Products segments recovery from seasonally lower fourth quarter shipments.
  • Comparing first quarter 2012 to first quarter 2011, sales decreased $41.1 million primarily due to a decline in the LME aluminum price. Persisting global macro-economic concerns, particularly the European sovereign-debt crisis and fears of slowing economic growth in China, have dampened LME aluminum prices since the second half of 2011. Substantially all the Company's external revenues are linked to the LME aluminum price, which averaged $0.99 in first quarter 2012 compared to $1.14 in first quarter 2011.

Total first quarter 2012 segment profit was $44.6 million, compared to $31.1 million in fourth quarter 2011 and $82.1 million in first quarter 2011.
  • First quarter 2012 segment profit improved by $13.5 million compared to fourth quarter 2011, primarily reflecting the elimination of the $16.5 million impact from the fourth quarter 2011 maintenance events. Excluding the effect of those maintenance events from fourth quarter results, segment profit decreased $3.0 million in first quarter 2012, consistent with the Company's expectations. An $8.8 million benefit from favorable price and volume changes in the Flat-Rolled Product segment was more than offset by the negative impact of higher levels of inventories from integrated supply channels ($7.0 million impact) and timing of employee benefit accruals ($5.9 million impact).
  • First quarter 2012 segment profit decreased by $37.5 million compared to first quarter 2011, resulting from a lower LME aluminum price ($23.3 million), combined with the effects of input cost inflation over the course of 2011, particularly in carbon-based and chemical products and fuel costs ($8.3 million combined). The rate of input cost inflation began to slow in late 2011, and in first quarter 2012 the Company has been successful in capturing modest reductions in certain of those costs. Natural gas prices favorably impacted first quarter 2012 by $5.3 million compared to first quarter 2011.

Segment Information
Three months ended
March 31, 2012   December 31, 2011   March 31, 2011
Key primary aluminum products segment metrics:
Average realized Midwest transaction price (per pound) $ 1.05 $ 1.04 $ 1.18
Integrated net cash cost for primary aluminum products (per pound shipped) (1) $ 0.78 $ 0.83 $ 0.66
Total primary aluminum shipments (pounds, in millions) 142.2 145.8 143.0
Segment profit (loss) (in millions):
Bauxite $ 2.2 $ (0.7 ) $ 6.4
Alumina 13.7 4.5 22.9
Primary Aluminum 25.7 22.7 47.8
Flat-Rolled Products 14.5 6.5 13.5
Corporate (8.7 ) (6.1 ) (6.6 )
Eliminations (2.8 )   4.2     (1.9 )
Total (1) $ 44.6     $ 31.1     $ 82.1  

(1) Results for three months ended December 31, 2011 include a $16.5 million negative impact from Alumina and Bauxite maintenance events. Excluding the impact of these maintenance events, our integrated net cash cost for primary aluminum was $0.72 per pound for fourth quarter 2011.

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