Excluding certain tax-effected items, net income was $30 million, up 43% compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2014.
"Excellent plant productivity, strong winter results in South America boosted by World Cup beverage consumption, and good year-over-year demand trends drove a strong start to the new fiscal year," said Phil Martens, president and chief executive officer for Novelis.
Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 was $235 million, a 15% increase compared to $204 million reported for the prior year. The increase was primarily driven by significantly higher volume, partially offset by pricing pressures in the Asian markets and a higher fixed cost base due to expansions ahead of revenue generation.
Novelis' new recycling centres in Germany and Brazil are ramping up production and will help the company achieve its mid-decade target of 50% recycled aluminium in its products on the way to its ultimate goal of 80% recycled content by 2020.
In addition, rolling expansions in Korea and Brazil are adding capacity to grow shipments and capitalise on strong global demand for aluminium flat rolled products, particularly in the beverage can market. In June, the company completed the sale of its Canadian consumer foil business in line with the company's strategic focus on core premium markets.
"Demand trends continue to be favourable and our investments in rolling, recycling and automotive sheet finishing lines have positioned the company well to capture growth in our core can sheet and specialty markets as well as the emerging automotive business," said Martens. "The first of our new global auto finishing lines are on track to begin shipping product in the second half of this fiscal year and will allow us to maintain our leadership position in the technically demanding, high-growth automotive aluminium sheet market, while growing our premium product portfolio."
Shipments of aluminium rolled products increased 9% in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 to 770 kilotonnes compared to 708 kilotonnes in the prior year.
For the third consecutive quarter, all four operating regions reported an increase in shipments year-over-year. Higher shipments were the primary driver of the 12% increase in net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 to $2.7 billion as compared to $2.4 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
The company reported negative free cash flow of $177 million for the year. "Free cash flow improved by $112 million versus the prior year, but as expected remained negative due to capital investments and semi-annual bond interest payments," said Steve Fisher, chief financial officer for Novelis. "Despite these factors and a $250 million return of capital to our parent company in the quarter, we reported solid liquidity of $791 million and expect to achieve positive free cash flow by fiscal year-end."