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Highlights From Alcoa Inc's Q1 Earnings

By Motley Fool Staff - Apr 21, 2016 at 8:18PM

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How Alcoa jumped over the incredibly low bar set for it, and... Arconic?

Last week, Alcoa (AA) kicked off earnings season with a 92% drop (it's not as bad as it sounds).

In this clip from the Industry Focus: Energy podcast, Tyler Crowe and Taylor Muckerman go over the biggest numbers from the call, and then talk about Alcoa's spinoff company -- which, for some unfathomable reason, they decided to name Arconic.

A full transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on April 14, 2016.

Tyler Crowe: So, also, the month of April happens to be the kickoff of first-quarter earnings for 2016.

Taylor Muckerman: Here we are, yay...

Crowe: It already happened. I thought we just barely finished the end of last quarter. And, to kick us off, we have Alcoa. The headline number says earnings fell 92%, which always sounds bad. But was it really as bad as that actually sounds?

Muckerman: Expectations were worse! So, they beat expectations, at least on the bottom line.

Crowe: That's a low hurdle to jump over.

Muckerman: That's right, an extremely low hurdle. When your hurdle is almost 100% less earnings than you had the quarter before in the year prior, yeah, you feel pretty good about yourself when you come in at 92% less. Revenue, though, did miss, just slightly. I think it was down 15% year over year. I just need to take a moment to scratch my head, maybe shake it a little bit, because they're about to spin off their aerospace and automotive business, their more high-margin business, in the second half of this year. Arconic is what they named it. Huh?

Crowe: I don't get it either. You would think, last year, when they said, "We're going to spin it off," and they didn't have a name yet... like you said, expectations were pretty low for the quarter. Expectations were really high for the name, and they came up with Arconic.

Muckerman: My goodness. Anyways, they might have a good reason for it. But it doesn't really sound like even a name I want to invest in. Alcoa just sounds investable.

Crowe: Well, I mean, it's been around for so long.

Muckerman: That's true, maybe it's just branded into my skull. But, much like the coal industry, Alcoa is blaming China turning into a consumer country, and not spending as much on aluminum. Prices are down like 40%, I think, from their most recent high. So, the company is still struggling, still held back by their smelting operations and production operations. That being said, the automotive and aerospace is still doing very well. So, when that spins off, it's going to give investors access to the consumer on that end with Arconic, and access to the production side with Alcoa. So you won't be constrained to this blended model. They're still talking about shedding more jobs ahead of the split. Personally, I do like what they're doing with aerospace and automotive. It's lighter, it's strong, and you see companies around the world forgoing steel in favor of aluminum in applications across the board.

Crowe: Right.

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