US Alcoa reports Q4 net loss on goodwill charge, bribery penalties

09 January 2014 22:13 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based aluminium producer Alcoa reported on Thursday a Q4 net loss of $2.34bn compared with a net income of $242m from Q4 2012 because of a $1.73bn goodwill charge.

In addition, Alcoa took a $243m charge in connection to resolving a US investigation into bribing officials with the Bahraini government.

The goodwill charge was connected to smelters that Alcoa had acquired from Alumax in 1998 and Reynolds Metals in 2000.

Still, Q4 sales fell faster than Alcoa's costs, which caused a 5.7% decline in gross profit.

Net sales were $5.59bn, down 5.3% from $5.90bn in Q4 2012. Alcoa attributed the decline to a 7% year-on-year drop in prices.

Cost of sales was $4.71bn, down 5.2% from $4.97bn from the same time last year.

Still, Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld was upbeat about the company's fourth quarter.

"We delivered strong operating performance in the fourth quarter, led by record downstream profitability, as our strategy to build out the value-add businesses and lower the cost base in the commodity segment gains traction,” Kleinfeld said.

“We started growing our value-add businesses and lowering the cost base of our commodity businesses at the height of the economic crisis," he added. "Today, this transformation is paying off, with the value-add businesses driving 57% of our revenues and 80% of our segment profits.”

Looking forward, world aluminium demand should grow by 7%, the same as in 2013, Alcoa said.

Aluminium is derived from alumina, which is created in a process that uses caustic soda. Alumina production is one of the key downstream consumers of caustic soda, which is a co-product of chlorine in the chlor-alkali process.

By Al Greenwood