UPDATE 3-Alcoa pledges finished products push as results beat Wall Street

Tue Jul 8, 2014 7:28pm EDT
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(Adds CEO comments following conference call, industry context)

By Nicole Mordant

July 8 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc's chief executive officer said on Tuesday the aluminum company would push deeper into the market for more profitable finished products like truck wheels and aircraft fuselages as it reported quarterly results that beat analysts' expectations.

At the same time, CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said Alcoa was focused on cutting costs and improving the performance of its traditional commodity business, which has been hit by weaker aluminum prices.

Alcoa's shares rose as much as 2 percent in after-hours trading. The company's stock price is up nearly 40 percent this year.

"The transformation of Alcoa truly is in high gear and the results show this. Our strategy is working," Kleinfeld said on a conference call.

Alcoa's strategy to boost value-added fabricated product output and broaden its footprint in other light-weight materials like nickel, titanium and lithium has partially offset the pain of prolonged weak underlying primary aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange, which have been close to or below breakeven for many smelters over the past year.

Alcoa has idled or permanently closed loss-making smelting capacity as it ramps up its smelter complex in Saudi Arabia, which will be the world's lowest-cost.

While LME prices have recovered recently, hitting a one-year high of $1,950 per tonne on Tuesday, a massive stockpile of metal continues to cast a long shadow over market sentiment.   Continued...