Weak Ruble Boosts ALROSA Revenue, Profit in 1Q

Moscow: ALROSA reported that revenue and profit jumped in the first quarter of 2015, despite prevailing weak market conditions, as the mining company benefited from the sharp depreciation of the Russian ruble against the U.S. dollar.

“[First quarter] results were mainly driven by a favorable foreign-exchange market environment,” explained Andrey Zharkov, ALROSA’s CEO. He added that the diamond market was less active during the quarter than a year earlier due to lower demand for rough diamonds from Indian cutters and polishers.

ALROSA’s revenue rose 31 percent year on year to $1.36 billion (RUB 74.58 billion) with diamond sales up 34 percent to $1.26 billion (RUB 69.1 billion). ALROSA also generates revenue from its transport, social infrastructure and gas businesses.

The ruble lost approximately 40 percent in value between April 1, 2014 and the end of the first quarter this year. While ALROSA sells its diamonds in U.S. dollars, according to market standards, the company reports its financials in ruble.

In addition to the effect of the weaker ruble, growth was driven by a better product mix. Sales volume decreased, while the company reported that the average price achieved rose 4 percent year on year to $161 per carat during the quarter. Market prices were up 2 percent from a year earlier and the change in product mix influenced prices to rise 4 percent. However, the company noted that market prices fell by about 5 percent from the preceding fourth quarter.

ALROSA reported that net profit more than tripled to $405 million (RUB 22.23 billion), largely as a result of its higher revenue stream. Cost of sales were basically flat at $509.4 million (RUB 27.96 billion), while financing costs fell 24 percent to $170.4 million (RUB 9.35 billion).

ALROSA ended the quarter with cash of $987.8 million (RUB 54.22 billion), which was more than double the amount recorded on December 31, 2014. Diamond inventory fell 4 percent during the three months to $562.8 million (RUB 30.89 billion).