A shrinking loss for Alcoa

Alcoa has recorded a significantly reduced loss for the final quarter of 2009.

Global miner Alcoa announced overnight a net loss of US$277 million for the final quarter of 2009, a dramatic improvement from the $1.19 billion loss from the corresponding period the previous year as the global economic downturn began to take hold.

The aluminium miner finished the quarter free cash flow positive for the first time since the middle of 2008, driven by a strong cash from operations performance of US$1.1 billion, a US$940 million increase from the previous quarter.

Much of the improvement has been attributed to a gradual resurgence in the aluminium and manufacturing industries.

The price of aluminium peaked in July 2008 at US$3380 per tonne before falling by as much as 35%. The metal has since improved and is currently selling at around US$2330.

“This was a tough year for the aluminum industry, a price crash, demand destruction, and credit crunch,” Alcoa president and chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld said.

“Yet, today Alcoa is stronger than when the year started.”

According to Kleinfeld, recent steps that Alcoa has taken regarding its financial structure will also benefit the company in coming years.

“We reshaped our cost structure and portfolio for profitable growth. And we built the cash reserves to weather current economic uncertainties and invest in opportunities for future growth,” he said.

The company’s revenue for the final quarter of 2009 totalled US$5.4 billion, an 18% increase from the third quarter of the year.

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