updated 1/10/2005 6:40:11 PM ET 2005-01-10T23:40:11

Despite strong demand and higher prices for aluminum, Alcoa’s fourth quarter profits fell 7.9 percent, largely from the sale of noncore businesses.

Alcoa Inc. on Monday reported net income of $268 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with a profit of $291 million, or 33 cents a share, for the same period last year. Excluding losses from discontinued operations, the company made $345 million, or 39 cents per share.

The results, excluding a $77 million after-tax charge, were a penny below expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

For the quarter ending Dec. 31, Alcoa had revenues of $6.04 billion, up 12 percent from $5.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2003.

Before the fourth quarter results were released, Alcoa shares fell 22 cents to close at $30.47 on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the year, Pittsburgh-based Alcoa reported a profit of $1.3 billion, up 39.7 percent from $938 million last year. Last year, Alcoa posted company-high sales of $23.5 billion dollars, up 11 percent from $21.1 billion in 2003.

Alcoa has 120,000 employees and operates in 41 countries, primarily in North America and Europe.

Alcoa Inc., the world's biggest aluminum producer, on Monday posted a lower net profit, despite higher revenue from soaring metal prices, because it took a charge for divesting non-core businesses.

Pittsburgh-based Alcoa said net income was $268 million, or 30 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $291 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. However, income from continuing operations rose to $345 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, up slightly from $342 million, or 39 cents, in the same quarter last year.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 12 percent to $6.0 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 42 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

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