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Alcoa swings to Q3 loss on pension charges, flags closure of 2 Spanish plants

Alcoa Corp. swung to a net loss of US$41.0 million, or 22 cents per share, for the third quarter, from a net profit of US$113.0 million, or 60 cents per share, recorded a year earlier.

The company said Oct. 17 that the result includes a negative impact of US$160 million for special items, mainly due to a US$174 million settlement charge from further actions on U.S. pension and other post-employment benefit, or OPEB, obligations.

Revenues stood at US$3.39 billion, increasing 14.4% from US$2.96 billion a year prior, while adjusted EBITDA, excluding special items, came in at US$795.0 million, up 36.6% from US$582.0 million a year earlier.

Alcoa ended the quarter with a cash balance of US$1 billion and cut its net pension and OPEB liability to US$2.2 billion, down from US$3.5 billion at the end of 2017.

The company tightened its outlook for full-year adjusted EBITDA to between US$3.1 billion and US$3.2 billion, from a previous estimate of US$3.0 billion to US$3.2 billion, reflecting recent market prices and expected operational performance. It also continues to predict a global deficit for both aluminum and alumina, and a surplus for bauxite.

Additionally, Alcoa's board approved a stock repurchase program, under which the company may buy back up to US$200 million of its outstanding shares, depending on available cash flow and market conditions.

Meanwhile, the company plans to launch collective dismissal consultations for workers at its Aviles and La Coruna aluminum plants in Spain, which were deemed the least productive within its system due to their inherent structural issues. Aviles has 317 workers while La Coruna has 369 employees.

Based on a review of its operations in Spain, Alcoa determined that ceasing output at both plants and reorganizing production at its San Ciprian facility could lead to organizational improvements.