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Results from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2010 improved $72 million over the fourth quarter of 2009, driven by higher realized prices for alumina and aluminum (13% and 8%, respectively) and productivity gains, which were partially offset by the impact of LIFO, lower volumes and higher energy costs.
“Our performance continued to improve in the first quarter thanks to higher realized prices and strong operational results,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, president and CEO. “Most of the special items we reported are non-cash and include proactive decisions to structurally improve the company’s profit potential.
“Our markets are gradually improving and both policy trends and consumer sentiment bode well for aluminum demand. Just a few days ago, the U.S. finalized new rules that require increased fuel efficiency and, for the first time, set greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks. In addition, a growing number of customers are requesting sustainable products. Factors like these play to aluminum’s superior advantages as a light, strong, versatile and infinitely recyclable material.”
Revenues for the 2010 first quarter were $4.9 billion, a 10% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2009. Higher realized prices were offset by more normalized buy/re-sell activity compared to the fourth quarter, lower shipments in alumina and primary metals, and the impact of the company’s strategy to improve long-term profitability in the rigid packaging business. Revenues in the first quarter of 2009 were $4.1 billion.
The net loss for the first quarter of 2010 was $201 million, or $0.20 per share, which includes the unfavorable impact of $295 million, or $0.29 per share, for restructuring and special charges. The net loss for the 2009 fourth quarter was $277 million, or $0.28 per share, and the net loss for the first quarter of 2009 was $497 million, or $0.61 per share.
The Alumina segment’s after-tax operating income (ATOI) in the first quarter was $72 million, an increase of $53 million compared with $19 million in the fourth quarter 2009. The prior period included a tax settlement related to an equity investment in Brazil. A 13% increase in pricing and lower costs driven by productivity were partially offset by a power outage at the Sao Luis refinery and higher Juruti start-up costs.
Alumina production in the first quarter declined 31 thousand metric tons (kmt) to 3866 kmt as the disruption at Sao Luis and maintenance outages in Australia more than offset increases at Point Comfort. Also, third-party shipments declined as more alumina was used to meet internal demand.
Additional details are available at www.alcoa.com.