Struggling aluminum company Alcoa trimmed its first-quarter loss to less than half that of a year ago, as it booked restructuring charges. Alcoa reported a loss of $201 million in January through March, compared with a loss of $497 million in the same period in 2009.
The metals giant unofficially kicks off the quarterly earnings season because it is the first of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's blue-chip stocks to announce results. The first-quarter loss per share was 20 cents, the company said after the stock market closed in New York. Alcoa shares rose 1.25% to $14.57.
The company said it took special and restructuring charges of $295 million, or 29 cents per share. Excluding these exceptional charges, Alcoa would have had earnings per share of nine cents, a hair below the 10 cents expected by most Wall Street analysts.
Revenues for the first quarter fell 10% from a year ago, to $4.9 billion.
"Our performance continued to improve in the first quarter thanks to higher realized prices and strong operational results," said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa CEO. "Our markets are gradually improving and both policy trends and consumer sentiment bode well for aluminum demand," he said.
Kleinfeld noted the United States recently finalized new rules that require increased fuel efficiency and for the first time set greenhouse-gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks. A growing number of customers are requesting sustainable products, he added.
"Factors like these play to aluminum's superior advantages as a light, strong, versatile and infinitely recyclable material."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010