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Alcoa, the New York-based aluminium company that is one of the world’s largest producers of the metal, marginally exceeded gloomy expectations for its second-quarter performance though it still slipped into loss.
The company, the first of the bellwether materials companies to announce quarterly results, reported earnings per share excluding special items of 6c, against an expected 5c. The figures, announced after the close of New York trading on Monday, sent the shares up about half a per cent in after-market trading to $8.76.
However, earnings per share after special items of less than a penny a share, and a $2m net loss for the period, compared with $322m net income for the March to June quarter of 2011. Sales fell 9 per cent to $5.96bn.
Analysts were watching the Alcoa results closely for an indication of the severity of the US economy’s second-quarter slowdown.
Klaus Kleinfeld, chief executive, said the company had maintained its revenue strength and solid liquidity by driving high profitability in its mid and downstream businesses – businesses that process smelted aluminium and manufacture aluminium goods.
It had reduced costs and improved performance in its volatile upstream businesses, which mine alumina and smelt aluminium and are more exposed to the current weakness in the world aluminium price
“Although aluminium prices are down, the fundamentals of the aluminium market remain sound … and Alcoa is successfully capitalising on accelerating demand in high-growth end markets such as aerospace and automotive,” Mr Kleinfeld said.