Are Alcoa’s Earnings the Start of a Turnaround?

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Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) reported its fourth-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Monday. The company had $0.04 in earnings per share (EPS) on $5.25 billion in revenue. That compared to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $0.02 in EPS on revenue of $5.29 billion in revenue. In the same period of the previous year, the aluminum producer posted EPS of $0.33 and $6.38 billion in revenue.

The company’s plan to separate into two publicly traded companies is expected to be completed in the second half of 2016. Alcoa is targeting filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by mid-year, which will include financials and information regarding the form of the separation, legal and capital structure and allocation of assets and liabilities and governance structure, among other items.

After the separation, the innovation and technology-driven Value-Add Company will include Global Rolled Products, Engineered Products and Solutions and Transportation and Construction Solutions.

For full-year 2015, these combined business segments reported revenue of $13.5 billion, after-tax operating income (ATOI) of $1.0 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $2.0 billion, up 5% over 2014.

The Upstream Company will comprise five strong business units that today make up Global Primary Products: Bauxite, Alumina, Aluminum, Cast Products and Energy. In full-year 2015, the combined upstream businesses reported revenue of $11.2 billion, ATOI of $901 million and adjusted EBITDA of $2.0 billion.

In the fourth quarter, Alcoa made significant progress executing its plan to strengthen its upstream portfolio. As a result, the company is on target to meet or exceed its 2016 goals of moving to the 38th percentile on the global aluminum cost curve and 21st percentile on the global alumina cost curve.

Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa, commented on earnings:

2015 was a pivotal year for Alcoa. We substantially strengthened our aerospace offerings through innovations and acquisitions and our customers responded favorably, awarding us $9 billion in aerospace contracts; and we continued to ramp up our automotive business and shift the midstream to a higher-margin product mix. In the Upstream, we faced harsh headwinds with prices for alumina down 43 percent and aluminum down 28 percent. As a result of our closures, curtailments, productivity actions and new business structure we improved competitiveness and strengthened the portfolio. We are fully on track to launch two strong, standalone companies in the second half of 2016.

Shares of Alcoa closed Monday down 0.9% at $8.00, with a consensus analyst price target of $11.46 and a 52-week trading range of $7.81 to $17.10. Following the release of the earnings report, shares were initially up 2.5% at $8.20 in the after-hours trading session.