Wise Metals Group narrows loss for 4th quarter and year

April 01, 2006|By ALLISON CONNOLLY | ALLISON CONNOLLY,SUN REPORTER

Wise Metals Group LLC reported a $21.6 million loss for 2005 yesterday, saying that unprecedented increases in energy and metal costs outpaced gains made in efficiency and sales.

The Linthicum Heights maker of aluminum sheet said sales improved to $884 million from $767 million for 2004, with shipments of aluminum for beverage cans and other products and scrap rising 4 percent to 764.7 million pounds. The company lost $41.5 million in 2004. Wise is privately owned but discloses its financial results because it has publicly traded bonds.

For the quarter that ended Dec. 31, the company lost $10.4 million after accounting adjustments, compared with a loss of $25.2 million for the corresponding period a year earlier. Sales for the quarter were $227.5 million, compared with $179.6 million a year earlier.

Natural gas costs were 33 percent higher in the fourth quarter than the company forecasted, costing Wise $5 million. While the cost of natural gas has started to come back down, metal prices are expected to continue to rise through the end of the year, chief executive David F. D'Addario said. This hurts Wise and other companies like it that have price ceilings built into their contracts with customers, he told analysts during a conference call yesterday.

allison.connolly@baltsun.com

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