Alcoa records third-quarter sales, earnings losses

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Alcoa kicked off earnings season this afternoon, reporting a $143 million third-quarter loss and sales that were 9 percent below year-ago levels.

The loss reflected several one-time charges, including a $40 million pretax charge for a lawsuit settlement announced earlier today. Excluding those items, Alcoa earned 3 cents per share vs. the break-even performance Wall Street analysts were expecting. Sales of $5.8 billion were above the $5.6 billion analysts forecast.

Aluminum prices were 17 percent below year-ago levels while shipments increased 3 percent.

The $40 million pretax charge related to the settlement of a four-year-old lawsuit brought by Aluminium Bahrain BSC. The Bahrain company alleged it was overcharged $400 million for raw materials because Alcoa steered bribes through a middleman who is facing criminal charges in Britain.

Alcoa, which admitted no wrongdoing, had recorded a $45 million charge in the second quarter related to the lawsuit. The company said it could face additional after-tax charges of $25 million to $30 million depending on the outcome of investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are also investigating the bribery allegations.

In the year-ago quarter, Alcoa reported net income of $172 million, or 15 cents per share, on sales of $6.4 billion.

The results were disclosed after Wall Street closed. Alcoa shares finished yesterday at $9.13, up 1 cent. They are up 6 percent this year.

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Len Boselovic: or 412-263-1941.

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