Alcan reporting quarterly profit

Alcan reporting quarterly profit

Alcan Inc., the Canadian aluminum supplier and bauxite miner, said Wednesday it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter on higher aluminum prices and sharply lower restructuring charges.

Alcan, based in Montreal, reported net income of $422 million, or $1.13 per share. The latest quarter included a gain of $97 million, or 26 cents per share, related to foreign currency conversion, offset by charges of $85 million, or 23 cents per share, for restructuring and asset impairment.

Operating earnings, which exclude certain items but do include a 17-cent charge to adjust the values of derivatives, were $1.09 per common share compared with $0.54 a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of $1.28 per share. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.

A year ago, the company posted a loss of $361 million, or 98 cents per share. That period included restructuring and impairment charges of $533 million.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 23 percent to $6.22 billion from $5.05 billion in 2005, mainly on higher aluminum prices, which jumped to $2,631 per ton from $1,942 per ton.

“Excellent results across most businesses and record operating cash flow in the fourth quarter capped an outstanding year,” President and CEO Dick Evans said in a statement.

“Our financial performance in 2006 has been the strongest in the company’s history, benefiting from the discipline and rigor of Alcan’s management systems and taking full advantage of strong market conditions. I am particularly pleased that this has allowed the company to deliver solid progress on growth, shareholder returns and debt reduction,” he continued.

“Looking to the year ahead, return on capital and cash generation remain our top priorities. We will continue to focus on development of our growth pipeline while maintaining a balanced approach to capital allocation. Primary aluminum and downstream market fundamentals remain broadly supportive, and we have good reason to be optimistic about the year ahead,” Evans said.


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