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Century Aluminum Upgraded: BMO Analyst Says Tariffs Will Push Volumes, Premiums Higher

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Century Aluminum Upgraded: BMO Analyst Says Tariffs Will Push Volumes, Premiums Higher

The White House's steel and aluminum tariffs will lead to higher Midwest premiums for Century Aluminum Co (NASDAQ: CENX), according to BMO Capital Markets. 

The Analyst

BMO analyst David Gagliano upgraded shares of Century Aluminum from Market Perform to Outperform and increased the price target from $20 to $28.

The Thesis

Century Aluminum shares do not reflect the valuation implications of higher company-specific volumes and BMO's views of higher-for-longer Midwest premiums, Gagliano said in a Sunday note. (See the analyst's track record here.)

The analyst estimates a "clearing Midwest premium" of about 20 cents per pound versus the spot price of 17 cents and historical price of 8 cents.

Assuming flat LME aluminum and alumina prices, BMO projects annual EBITDA of over $450 million once volumes and premiums reset.

The incremental EBITDA opportunity from the higher Midwest premium is $50 million to $60 million, Gagliano said. Ramping at Century's Hawesville, Kentucky facility added higher value-added aluminum products and another $20 million to $30 million to EBITDA over time, Gagliano said. 

The analyst cautioned that EBITDA will most likely be lowered in the near term due to upfront Hawesville start-up costs, with no volume benefits.

The Price Action

Century Aluminum shares are up about 68 percent over the past year.

The stock was surging 4.62 percent to $21.08 at the time of publication Monday. 

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Latest Ratings for CENX

DateFirmActionFromTo
Jun 2020BMO CapitalDowngradesOutperformMarket Perform
Mar 2020B. Riley FBRDowngradesBuyNeutral
Feb 2020B. Riley FBRMaintainsBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for CENX
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

 

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