It blamed lower aluminium prices, higher operating costs and seasonally lower sales volumes weakened underlying results.

“2010 was a turn-around year for Hydro, and 2011 will mark the transformation. I expect full Qatalum production from June and expect to close the planned acquisition of Vale’s aluminium business in Q1,” Hydro’s President Svein Richard Brandtzæg said.

Underlying results for primary metal declined during the quarter mainly due to lower realized aluminium prices, partly offset by insurance proceeds relating to the August 2010 power outage at Qatalum.

Ramp-up of the plant restarted in the middle of September. At the end of Q4, 321 out of 704 cells were fully operational. Final ramp-up to full production capacity will be hampered by delayed commissioning of the power plant steam turbines.

Qatalum is expected to reach full production in June.