Alcoa has reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $500 million, or 39 cents a share, and an 18% decline in revenue amid sharply lower aluminum prices.
The loss compared with a year-earlier profit of $159 million, or 11 cents a share. But excluding $565 million in costs related to shuttering parts of its traditional aluminum smelting business, adjusted per-share earnings fell to 4 cents per share from 33 cents a year ago, beating analyst expectations of 2 cents per share.
Alcoa’s revenue dropped to $5.25 billion in the latest quarter from $6.38 billion a year earlier as a 7% revenue increase from aerospace and acquisitions was more than offset by a 25% decrease from lower alumina and aluminum prices, divestitures, and closures.
Alcoa announced in September that it would spin off its automotive and aerospace business from the smelting business in the second half of 2016.
“2015 was a pivotal year for Alcoa,” CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said in a news release. “We substantially strengthened our aerospace offerings through innovations and acquisitions and our customers responded favorably, awarding us $9 billion in aerospace contracts; and we continued to ramp up our automotive business and shift the midstream to a higher-margin product mix.”
But the smelting business faced “harsh headwinds,” Kleinfeld said, noting that prices for alumina and aluminum fell 43% and 28%, respectively.
“As a result of our closures, curtailments, productivity actions, and new business structure we improved competitiveness and strengthened the portfolio,” he added. “We are fully on track to launch two strong, standalone companies in the second half of 2016.”
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Alcoa “has been phasing out aluminum production in high-cost areas such as the United States, Australia, and Europe, and instead focusing on making raw aluminum in places where power — a key component in aluminum production — is cheaper.”
The smelting division reported an operating loss of $40 million for the fourth quarter, compared with an operating profit of $ 267 million a year earlier.