August 16, 2012 / 3:32 PM / 6 years ago

China's Chalco retreats to first-half net loss

HONG KONG, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco), China’s top producer of the lightweight metal, flagged a first-half net loss on Thursday, throwing a fresh spotlight on its $926 million bid for Mongolia-focused coal miner SouthGobi Resources .

Chalco said it made a net loss of 3.25 billion yuan ($510.8 million) in the six months through June, weighed down by weak aluminium prices and rising costs, and reversing a net profit of 413 million for the same period last year.

With high inventories and a more than 5 percent drop in prices in the first six months, many aluminium producers are losing money. Benchmark three-month London Metal Exchange aluminium stood at $1,841 a tonne on Thursday, hovering around two-year lows.

Responding to such pressures, Chalco has been diversifying into coal, iron ore and electricity investments. But its plan to take control of SouthGobi has hit snags and SouthGobi said earlier this week it expected Chalco to drop the bid due to opposition from the Mongolian government.

Chalco’s first-half revenue rose 9 percent to 71.7 billion yuan, it said in its statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which came ahead of full half-year results due next week.

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