Alcoa posts strong quarterly results supported by robust aluminum pricing
May 1, 2022 - Alcoa Corporation (NYSE: AA) today reported first quarter 2022 financial results that included quarterly records for net income, adjusted net income and Adjusted EBITDA excluding special items.
First Quarter Highlights
1. Net income increased sequentially to $469 million, or $2.49 per share
2. Adjusted net income increased 21 percent sequentially to $577 million, or $3.06 per share
3. Adjusted EBITDA excluding special items increased 20 percent sequentially to $1,072 million
4. Repurchased $75 million shares of common stock and paid $18 million in cash dividends
5. Finished the quarter with a cash balance of $1.6 billion
“We had an excellent start to the year with record profitability in the first quarter, including quarterly EBITDA that surpassed $1 billion for the first time in our history,” said Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey. “We also further strengthened our portfolio, provided capital returns to our investors, and captured the benefits of strengthened aluminum pricing.
“In volatile markets influenced by world events, we have effectively managed our supply chain and maintained stability across our operations. We remain focused on the future through the pursuit of our strategic priorities and the development of our breakthrough technologies.” Harvey said.
First Quarter 2022 Results
1. Revenue: In the Aluminum segment, revenue increased 3 percent sequentially due to strong market pricing. The average realized price for primary aluminum increased 14 percent sequentially to $3,861 per metric ton, up $479 per metric ton from the prior quarter. In the Alumina segment, third-party revenue decreased 9 percent sequentially due to lower average alumina prices.
2. Shipments: In Aluminum, shipment volume for value add products, which includes specific shapes and alloys such as billet, slab, foundry, and rod, increased 6 percent sequentially, including the resumption of sales from the San Ciprián casthouse in Spain after conclusion of the strike in late December 2021. Shipments of commodity grade aluminum were down 19 percent sequentially, more than half on lower trading volume, for a total Aluminum segment decrease of 8 percent. In Alumina, third-party shipments decreased 1 percent sequentially.
3. Production: Primary aluminum production decreased 10 percent sequentially on the curtailment of the San Ciprián smelter and fewer days in the quarter. Production in the Alumina segment was down 2 percent sequentially primarily on fewer days in the quarter and lower production from the Australian refineries which offset improvement from the San Ciprián refinery’s return to full production after the strike conclusion.
4. Net income attributable to Alcoa Corporation of $469 million, or $2.49 per share, improved from the prior quarter’s net loss of $392 million, or $2.11 per share; the prior quarter had $1.1 billion in restructuring charges primarily for pension and portfolio actions.
5. Adjusted net income increased 21 percent sequentially to $577 million, or $3.06 per share, excluding the impact from net special items of $108 million. Notable special items include restructuring and other charges of $77 million related to a potential legal settlement in Spain and $58 million for the impairment of the Company’s investment in the Mineracao Rio Do Norte S.A. (MRN) bauxite mine in Brazil (both discussed below).
6. Adjusted EBITDA excluding special items increased 20 percent sequentially to $1,072 million, primarily due to higher aluminum prices.
7. Cash: Alcoa ended the quarter with cash on hand of $1.6 billion. Cash provided from operations was $34 million. Cash used for financing activities was $209 million, primarily related to $75 million in share repurchases, $18 million in cash dividends on common stock, and $116 million in net distributions to noncontrolling interest. Cash used for investing activities was $93 million, which includes $74 million in capital expenditures and $21 million in contributions to the ELYSISTM joint venture.
8. Working capital: The Company reported 49 days working capital, a 20 day sequential increase. The majority of the increase, 14 days, relates to additional inventory. The Company has higher value in raw materials and finished goods primarily on higher pricing, as well as higher amounts on hand due to lack of availability of outbound rail cars and vessels, most predominantly in North America, additional metal purchases to serve annual contracts related to the Alumar smelter, and lower shipments from the Alumina segment. Higher sales prices in accounts receivable resulted in an additional 5 days.
In the first quarter, Alcoa signed an agreement to sell its entire stake in MRN in Brazil to South32 for $10 million with the potential for future contingent payments up to $30 million. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022. Alcoa’s decision to divest its ownership interest is based on sufficient bauxite supplies across its global system, including from the Juruti mine in Brazil.
In Spain, Alcoa safely curtailed in the first quarter the 228,000 metric tons per year of aluminum smelting capacity at the San Ciprián smelter, per a December 29, 2021 agreement with workers’ representatives. The successful curtailment enabled the Company to avoid significant exposure to high power costs in Spain.
Also in Spain, the Company’s former employees at Avilés and La Coruña have unanimously agreed to the terms of a settlement which will, upon satisfaction of all agreed conditions, resolve various ongoing legal disputes related to the 2019 sale of those two smelters.
On March 2, Alcoa announced it would cease buying raw materials from, or selling products to, Russian businesses. The Company has made alternate plans for securing the limited number of materials purchased from Russian suppliers for the remainder of 2022 and into the future, without material financial impact.
The Company has decreased its projection for bauxite shipments in 2022 by 2 million dry metric tons to range between 46.0 and 47.0 million dry metric tons. Due to Alcoa’s cessation of bauxite sales to Russian businesses, the Company expects to slow production in its Juruti mine in Brazil by approximately 1.1 million dry metric tons. The Company is also observing Russia-related changes in the Atlantic bauxite market, which may impact shipments by approximately 1 million dry metric tons.
The Company expects total alumina and aluminum shipments to remain unchanged between 14.2 and 14.4 million metric tons, and between 2.5 and 2.6 million metric tons, respectively.
For the second quarter 2022, based on current prices, Alcoa expects both alumina and aluminum realized third-party prices to be higher than the first quarter, with that benefit partly offset by approximately $115 million of higher energy and raw materials costs. Higher shipments sequentially are expected to more than offset remaining cost pressures and other factors.
Based on current alumina and aluminum market conditions, the Company expects second quarter tax expense to approximate $220 million to $230 million, which may vary with market conditions and jurisdictional profitability.