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Alcoa cuts demand outlook, posts $143M loss

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012
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Alcoa Inc. has slightly lowered its aluminum demand expectations for the rest of the year largely because of China's economic slowdown.

Alcoa, which makes aluminum for a wide range of businesses, predicted aluminum demand would grow 6 percent this year, down from 7 percent in the previous quarter.

Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said the main driver was China's slower growth. The world's second largest economy is investing in infrastructure projects that will help demand but that likely won't begin to show until the end of the fourth quarter, he said.

The revised forecast was released as Alcoa reported a loss of $143 million in the third quarter largely on hefty one-time charges, but its adjusted results beat Wall Street estimates. It was Alcoa's second consecutive quarterly loss.

Alcoa's loss equaled 13 cents per share. That compares with net income of $172 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding $175 million in charges, Alcoa earned $32 million, or 3 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast break-even results on a per share basis. Such estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue fell to $5.83 billion from $6.42 billion but still beat analysts' expectations.

Kleinfeld told analysts on a conference call that he believes the market is being driven more by concerns about the economy rather than the fundamentals of lower inventories and a balance between supply and demand.

"But currently the market sentiment dominates the pricing," he said. Aluminum prices in the July-through-September quarter dropped 17 percent.

Among the $175 million in one-time charges during the quarter was $40 million for a settlement in a lawsuit. Alcoa agreed to pay $85 million in cash to Aluminum Bahrain BSC, or Alba, without admitting liability, to settle the suit.

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