Novelis Inc., the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, last evening reported record results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2018 with significant year-over-year increases in Adjusted EBITDA, net sales, net income, free cash flow and shipments. This performance was driven by Novelis focused strategy to improve operational efficiencies, increase shipments of premium products, and make key investments to grow automotive capacity. Fiscal 2018 net income attributable to its common shareholder was $ 106 million for the fourth quarter and $ 635 million for the full year.
Excluding tax-effected special items in both years, Novelis grew its fourth quarter fiscal 2018 net income 38 percent to $ 101 million, and increased full year net income by 80 percent to $ 420 million. This increase reflects a significant improvement in adjusted EBITDA, as well as lower interest expense, a result of the companys long-term debt refinancing actions during fiscal 2017.
By strengthening its automotive portfolio and making strategic investments to increase capacity, Novelis broadened its leadership position within the industry and is committed to developing next-generation high-strength, highly-formable 6xxx and 7xxx series alloys for future vehicle design. As projections for aluminum adoption increase, Novelis will continue to partner with OEMs to develop more aluminum based vehicle architecture from hang-on parts to complete structural aluminum-intensive bodies. As a result, the company will pursue significant growth opportunities from incremental aluminum adoption in niche premium cars as well as higher mass production mix-material vehicles.
Net sales increased 17 percent over the prior year to $ 3.1 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, driven by higher average aluminum prices, higher total shipments, and a favorable impact from record automotive shipments. Shipments of flat rolled products increased two percent to a record 805 kilotonnes.
Net sales grew 20 percent to $ 11.5 billion in fiscal 2018. The increase was driven by higher average aluminum prices, record shipments and increased shipments of higher conversion premium products. Total shipments of flat rolled products grew four percent to 3,188 kilotonnes. For fiscal 2018, the percentage of the companys shipment portfolio stemming from automotive sheet grew to 20 percent, up from 18 percent in the prior year.
Adjusted EBITDA grew 12 percent to $ 1,215 million in fiscal 2018 compared to $ 1,085 million in fiscal 2017. The increase was driven by higher shipments and strong operational efficiencies, as well as favorable product mix, metal costs and currency impacts, partially offset by lower can prices.