Alcoa profit falls; demand seen growing faster than supply

Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:04pm EDT
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By Nick Carey

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Metals company Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote) on Monday reported a lower quarterly profit, with results hurt by low commodity prices, the strong U.S. dollar and plant closures or divestments, but the company's top executive said he expected aluminum demand to grow faster than supply this year.

Alcoa also lowered its 2016 outlook for global sales in the aerospace industry, and its shares fell 5 percent in after-hours trading.

Alcoa will split in two in the second half of this year.

The company's traditional smelting business will retain the Alcoa name, while a new firm named Arconic will retain the added-value aerospace and automotive business involving strong, light alloys that the company has worked hard to build in recent years.

But that traditional business has been hurt by slumping aluminum and alumina prices. Alcoa Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld told Reuters in an interview that the company expects global aluminum demand to grow by 5 percent this year, while supply should increase by 2 percent.

"That should create additional price support" for aluminum, he said.

He added that the company's closure or sale of some smelters was a way to "achieve the profitability that we want to get to."

Alcoa said it now expects global sales in the aerospace industry to grow in a range of 6 to 8 percent this year. That is down from its last forecast in the fourth quarter of 2015 of growth between 8 and 9 percent.   Continued...

An Alcoa aluminum plant in Alcoa, Tennessee is seen in this April 8, 2014 file photograph. REUTERS/Wade Payne/Files