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Acct 305

In: Business and Management

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Alcoa, which produces both aluminum and parts that go into Ford pickup trucks, has planned to divide these two businesses.
For Klaus Kleinfeld, the chief executive of Alcoa, the split culminates a seven-year strategy. Through almost $5 billion worth of acquisitions and several divestitures, Mr. Kleinfeld built a new, yet-to-be-named business, providing metal products for transportation, industrial gas turbines and construction.
The company is betting this side will see a boost: Its products will be increasingly used in the aerospace and auto industries, as its lighter metals could be more fuel-efficient. In September, Alcoa announced its supplies would enable Ford to replace some steel parts in the F-150 pickup truck with a new type of aluminum.
On the commodities side, Mr. Kleinfeld made moves to protect against the cyclical nature of aluminum prices, which can rise and fall on the basis of events such as a Chinese construction boom and bust. He closed high-cost plants and altered the way Alcoa’s products were priced to improve profitability.
A benefit for investors is that the separate companies will be more focused and could attract higher valuations. Given the decline in aluminum prices, the new commodities-focused Alcoa could attract value investors.
Alcoa’s new business will include products for transportation and packaging, vehicle wheels, building and construction, and pieces that go in jet engines and gas turbines. The commodities business will consist of bauxite mining, alumina refining, and smelting and casting primary metals. Alcoa also owns energy assets across North and South America and Australia.
Mr. Kleinfeld will become the chief executive and chairman of the new company, and will serve as temporary chairman of Alcoa with a new management team, to be named in the months leading up to the introduction of the two companies in 2016. Alcoa shareholders will hold stock in both companies after the split.

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