EGA pulled out a solid set of results by focussing on taking up logistics challenges - and then overcoming them. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE’s biggest non-oil manufacturing entity, EGA (Emirates Global Aluminium) recorded a whopping 1,140 per cent increase in net profits for 2021 to $1.5 billion. The bottom-line number shows the company make a swift return to form after the disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 in 2020.

EGA shareholders received Dh735 million ($200 million) in dividends during 2021. Additionally, the H-block was acquired from the shareholders for AED 1.6 billion ($438 million) in December 2021.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of EGA
"We will drive further efficiency, and we will focus on unlocking further growth for our business," said Bin Kalban.

“EGA can still do better,” said Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of EGA. “We will focus on maximising the value of our existing assets by de-bottlenecking and through Industry 4.0.”

“There was a strong market for our metal last year - and this continues,” said the CEO. “The demand is there, and we have had clients dealing with us for 40-43 years. There are no issues with exports - in fact, they are demanding more.”

IPO plans
It was last year that Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) was touted as the next big candidate for an IPO and a listing on ADX.

"The decision about the IPO and its timing is for shareholders to decide, and as the management, our role is to continue to build a solid and attractive business," said Zouhir Regragui, CFO. "In 2021, we made progress on the results."

Sets up the next stage

EGA, in fact, delivered “record results” and which show that “our preparations for the next stage of our corporate journey are nearing completion,” the CEO added. ”EGA today has strength from mine to metal, an optimised capital structure to continue delivering significant dividends to shareholders in future and grow our business, and a path to greatly reducing our carbon footprint."

EGA’s production mix covers three categories - bauxite, alumina and, of course, the end product aluminium. “Our record showing in 2021 wasn’t just because of attractive prices,” Bin Kalban said. “There was record production in every commodity we have. And we retained the status of being the world’s biggest premium aluminium producer.”

Stock - EGA
Last year's revenues weighed in with Dh25.5 billion ($6.9 billion) against the Dh18.7 billion ($5.1 billion) in 2020. EGA's net profit for 2020 was at Dh445 million ($121 million).

“In the shorter term, strong demand has continued in the first quarter of 2022. While like others we are still facing challenges with global logistics, we have adopted new approaches such as breakbulk shipping to overcome them,” the CEO added.

Last year, EGA became the first company in the world to produce aluminium commercially using solar power. Production of the 'CelestiAL' solar aluminium totalled almost 39,000 tonnes.

Bring down debt to size
In 2021, EGA brought down its senior corporate debt facility by Dh2.7 billion to Dh20.3 billion, as well as scheduled and then full early repayment of Dh1.6 billion project financing for construction of Al Taweelah smelter. It also scheduled repayments of the GAC debt.

In total, EGA has repaid Dh4.4 billion of debt in 2021. EGA’s net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio stands at 2.4x.

“The deleveraging will lead to better optimisation of capital and future dividends,” said the EGA’s Chief Financial Officer, Zouhir Regragui. “We get the additional flexibility for future growth. We will keep doing that deleveraging."