Alcoa's first-quarter profit doubles

/ Source: The Associated Press

Alcoa Inc.’s profit more than doubled in the first quarter on strong demand for aluminum domestically and in China. But the results still missed Wall Street expectations.

The world’s largest aluminum producer said Tuesday it earned $355 million, or 41 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 31, compared with $151 million, or 17 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Alcoa said its earnings from continuing operations amounted to 40 cents a share in the quarter. That was less than the consensus estimate of 42 cents a share by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Alcoa reported revenues of $5.7 billion, up 11 percent from $5.14 billion a year ago.

Five of six Alcoa segments showed double-digit increases in profitability compared with the first quarter of last year, with engineered products up 88 percent, the company reported.

Double-digit increases in sales to the commercial vehicle and aerospace markets drove fabricated aluminum shipments upward.

“Our downstream aluminum businesses strengthened as end markets in Europe and the U.S. expanded,” said Alain Belda, chairman and chief executive. “Demand for aluminum fabricated products was the highest in three years, driving prices higher.”

Aluminum prices are up 18 percent from a year ago and 9 percent from the fourth quarter.