Alcoa Q1 Profit Drops on Restructuring Charges

Alcoa Inc. (AA), the world's biggest aluminum producer, Wednesday reported first-quarter earnings fell as a result of restructuring charges and tax costs.

The Pittsburgh-based company, the first Dow component to report first-quarter earnings, said net income was $260 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with $355 million, or 41 cents, a year ago.

But the company said its first-quarter 2005 income included negative impacts totaling 9 cents a share for the tax effect of the sale of its Elkem (search) investment in Norway, restructuring charges and the cost of integrating a recently acquired Russian business.

Excluding the tax and restructuring impacts, earnings were $273 million, or 31 cents a share, in the first quarter, the company said. Analysts on average were expecting 39 cents per share on that basis, according to Reuters Estimates.

Alcoa said first-quarter revenue rose 13 percent to $6.28 billion as the company benefited from high aluminum prices (search) driven in part by industrial growth in China.

Four of the company's six reporting segments recorded double-digit improvements in profitability over the fourth quarter of 2004.

"Underlying business performance improved in the quarter as we captured the benefits of higher metal prices and the stronger economy in North America," said Alain Belda, chairman and chief executive.

Belda added that he expects Alcoa to benefit from "strong demand in end markets and the sustained high commodity prices."