This Morning in Metals: Alcoa posts ‘excellent’ first quarter, cites stronger prices

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This morning in metals news: Alcoa announced its first quarter financial results; US housing starts surged in March; and General Motors and LG Energy Solution are building a second Ultium battery cell manufacturing plant in the US.

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Alcoa releases first quarter financial results

earnings sign

zerophoto/Adobe Stock

Alcoa released its first quarter financial results Thursday, in which it posted strong numbers boosted by higher aluminum and alumina prices.

The firm reported net income of $175 million in the first quarter of 2021. That compares with income of $80 million in Q1 2020. Meanwhile, Alcoa reported a net loss of $4 million in Q4 2020.

“We had an excellent first quarter with our best quarterly result since a record-setting year in 2018,” Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey said. “We excelled from the top line to the bottom line, controlling production costs and capturing the benefits of improved demand and stronger prices for alumina and aluminum.”

US housing starts bounce back in March

After cooling in February, US housing start activity picked back up in March.

US housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,739,000 in March. The rate marked an increase of 19.4% from February and an increase of 30.2% from March 2020.

Furthermore, single-family housing starts reached a rate of 1,238,000 in March, up 15.3% from February. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more reached 477,000.

GM, LG to build second Ultium battery manufacturing plant

General Motors and LG Energy Solution, through their joint venture Ultium Cells LLC, will invest $2.3 billion to build a second Ultium battery cell plant in the US.

The facility will be in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

“The addition of our second all-new Ultium battery cell plant in the U.S. with our joint venture partner LG Energy Solution is another major step in our transition to an all-electric future,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said.

GM said the new plant will create about 1,300 new jobs and is scheduled to open in 2023.

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