Oct. 15, 2014
Alcoa Reports Healthy Third-Quarter Profits
Alcoa reported a second-straight highly profitable quarter, with third-quarter profits of $149 million. That followed the $138 million reported the previous quarter, and was a significant gain from the $24 million in third-quarter 2013.
“This quarter is a clear data point that Alcoa’s transformation is delivering,” said Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld during the company’s recent quarterly conference call with investors and analysts. “Our downstream business again achieved historically high profitability, the midstream maintained disciplined cost control while capturing growth, and Primary Metals performed at levels not seen since before the downturn. This strong quarter is the direct result of our intense focus on repositioning our portfolio, and we’re just hitting our stride.”
Third-quarter revenues climbed 7 percent sequentially and 8 percent year-over-year to $6.2 billion. Nearly half of the yearly revenue improvement resulted from organic growth. Favorable metal pricing and higher energy sales also contributed to revenues, executives claimed.
Alcoa’s Global Rolled Products’ operating income increased 45 percent year over year to $103 million due to higher metal prices, seasonal demand for can sheet in North America and improved productivity. The segment will continue to ramp up production in the fourth quarter to serve growing demand for aluminum-intensive vehicles, the company said.
The company upped its projection for 2014 global automotive production growth to 2 to 4 percent. GRP produced a record volume of automotive sheet in the third quarter to meet increasing demand from carmakers. The company’s Davenport, Iowa, facility continued to ramp up production and is supplying Ford with high-strength automotive sheet made with a military-grade aluminum alloy for the new F-150. Its auto expansion in Alcoa, Tenn., is on schedule to open in mid-2015.
Alcoa also increased its estimate of production growth for the North America commercial transportation market to a range of 16 to 20 percent. The higher estimate is based in part on a 43 percent increase in third-quarter truck orders year over year and strong backlogs.
Alcoa continues to project 2014 global aerospace sales growth of 8 to 9 percent driven by robust demand for both large commercial aircraft and regional jets.
To position itself to better meet the aerospace industry’s growing demand for lighter materials, Alcoa has opened the world’s largest aluminum lithium alloy plant in Lafayette, Ind. The plant has already contracted $100 million in Al-Li revenues for 2017. This is Alcoa’s third Al-Li expansion, with the first two at the Alcoa Technical Center outside Pittsburgh and at the Kitts Green facility in the United Kingdom.