Alcoa posts surprise profit; shares spike

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alcoaAlcoa Inc. (AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, on Wednesday said it returned to profitability after three consecutive quarterly losses, helped by cost-cutting and rising orders from automakers and other big manufacturers.

The Pittsburgh-based company forecast 11 percent growth in global aluminum demand in the second half of 2009, with shipments appearing to climb and distributors replenishing low inventories.Alcoa earned $77 million, or 8 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. During the same period last year, the company earned $268 million, or 33 cents per share.

Revenue tumbled 40 percent to $4.6 billion from a year earlier,
but was up from the second quarter this year.

The latest results reflected cost-cutting by Alcoa. The company was forced to slash jobs, sell businesses and curb production as
aerospace, automotive and construction industries cut their orders late last year amid the global economic downturn. That pushed up stockpiles and forced down prices.

But just last month, Alcoa boosted its annual forecast for global aluminum consumption, citing stronger demand from China.

Excluding restructuring charges, Alcoa's earnings in the latest quarter amounted to 4 cents per share, easily beating expectations of a loss of 9 cents on revenue of $4.55 billion. Wall Street typically excludes one-time charges in its estimates.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
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