Alcoa’s (NYSE: AA) fourth quarter earnings beat analyst consensus despite tough macro trends due to ongoing trade wars and lower demand for aluminum along with improved supplies resulting in a price decline of about 20% last year.
The company’s adjusted earnings came in at $0.66 per share surpassing street estimates of $0.62 per share. It’s worth noting that for the same period last year, EPS was $1.04. The decline in earnings was primarily due to a drop in commodity prices which impacted the bottom line.
Revenue for the fourth quarter was $3.34 billion, which was in line with analyst estimates of $3.35 billion and saw an increase of 5% sequentially. The improvement in top line was a result of a spike in metal prices in the first half of 2018 and debt reduction measures taken by the firm.
Last quarter, the company stopped production at Aviles and La Coruna plants due to lower productivity and increased costs. It also retrenched 686 workers who were working in both the plants. Alcoa expects the plant-closure related charges to be in the range of $90 million to $115 million.
Today, it has inked a temporary agreement with ousted employees and upon approval, the company plans to pay the entire amount in 2019. The plant closures are expected to contribute $70 million to $80 million more to the bottom line every year starting from Q3 2019.
On the market outlook front, the company expects the aluminum deficit for 2019 to come in the range of 1.7 million and 2.1 million metric tons and 3% to 4% growth in demand. Alumina is forecasted to become a surplus market due to stockpiling in China and lower global demand while bauxite continues the trend from last year to be a surplus market, primarily due to bumping up of stocks by China.
Post the earnings announcement, Alcoa’s stock was marginally down by 0.6% after the bell. Shares of the company have dwindled nearly 50% last year.
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