A turnaround in cash flow from its Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) joint venture with US aluminium group Alcoa contributed to the result. Alumina Ltd reported a loss the year before of US$24M.

CEO John Bevan said global demand for alumina is forecast to grow 12% in 2011. He said: “The global alumina market is entering a growth phase due in part to the rising demand for alumina from independent, non-integrated smelters, including many in China.”

The company reported underlying earnings of $US37M in the year to December 31, 2010, up from $US300k in the previous corresponding period.

Alumina is an Australian company with a 40% stake in AWAC, with Alcoa holding the remaining 60%.

AWAC alumina production was 15.2Mt in 2010 compared to 13.5Mt the year before.

AWAC profit was impacted by $135M before tax of costs in Brazil arising from commissioning and start up issues and their impact on production costs. Of this, $80M related to commissioning issues at the refinery.

Profit was also reduced by the strengthening Australian dollar, which impacted 60% of AWAC’s global production.

"With the major investment in Brazil behind us, and the outlook for alumina pricing continuing to strengthen, dividend flow from the joint venture has also significantly improved," said Mr Bevan.