Alcoa opens earnings season with surprise profit

By Reuters
Posted July 12, 2010 at 4:02 p.m.

Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, posted a second-quarter profit Monday, beating Wall Street estimates as sales soared 22 percent.

The company cited strength in several industrial sectors and raised its estimate for aluminum consumption this year.
Shares of the company rose to $11.15 in extended trade after closing at $10.87 in the regular session on the New York Stock Exchange.

Net earnings were $136 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with a loss of $454 million, or 47 cents per share a year earlier,  the Pittsburgh-based company said. Earnings from continuing operations were $137 million, 13 cents per share.

Revenue rose 22 percent, to $5.2 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 11 cents per share and revenue of $5.047 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In the quarter, Alcoa said there was a 1-percent increase in third-party prices for alumina — the raw material for aluminum. However, that was offset by a 1-percent decline in realized prices for the metal.

Alcoa said there was strong revenue growth in the first quarter in several markets, in particular in packaging, commercial transportation and building and construction.

“The top and bottom line growth was driven by higher volumes from stronger end markets and continued gains from our productivity programs,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld.

“Based on this improved end-market demand, we are raising our projection for aluminum consumption from 10 percent to 12 percent this year.”

In the last three months, the price of aluminum has dropped sharply, to around $2,000 a ton from more than $2,400 in April amid weak demand for cars, planes and construction and uncertainty over the strength of the global recovery.

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