Alcoa loses in historic market

Alcoa’s report for the 2008 fourth quarter has shown a loss of close to $1 billion from continuing operations.

The company’s income from continuing operations totalled a loss of $929 million, or $1.16 a share, including restructuring, impairment and other charges of $708 million.

According to Alcoa, these results were a result of aluminium prices falling 35% during the quarter and by a ‘historic’ 56% since July.

“We are taking wide-ranging measures to address the economic downturn,” Alcoa president and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said.

One of the measures taken by Alcoa was to reduce its workforce by 15,000 and put a freeze on both salaries and hiring.

“We have streamlined our portfolio to focus on businesses where Alcoa is the recognised leader, curtailed production to adjust to weakened demand, reduced global headcount, and achieved significant savings in key raw materials,” Kleinfeld said.

“By moving quickly to address the market decline, we are using Alcoa’s strategic flexibility and solid liquidity to address the continuing economic uncertainty and emerge even stronger when the economy recovers.”

Alcoa’s revenues for the full year 2008 totalled $26.9 billion, with income from continuing operations resulting in a profit of $229 million.

The company finished the year with $762 million cash on hand and remains optimistic for the future, Kleinfeld said.

“Once the economy stabilises, the global megatrends — demographics, urbanisation and environmental stewardship — will all drive opportunities for our core products,” he said.

“Aluminium has the ideal combination of strength, light weight and infinite recyclability to help countries rebuild their infrastructures for the 21st century.

“We are extremely well positioned to seize those opportunities.”

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