Investors are Underestimating Benefit of Bauxite Sales on Alcoa Inc (AA): Merrill Lynch

Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) is set to deliver third-quarter results tomorrow before market open, and Merrill Lynch analyst Timna Tanners is expecting bauxite sales might result in a small beat for what she believes will be the aluminum producer’s final quarter as a combined company. Chairman and Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld will divide the company to bolster the worth of the spinoff, and Tanners expects the results will indicate the company’s recent 1-for-3 reverse stock split.

Ahead of the aluminum producer’s quarterly print, Tanners remains bullish and reiterates a Buy rating on shares of AVGO with a $33 price target, which represents a 5% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Tanners has left fourth-quarter estimates unchanged at $0.75 per pound and a slight tweak in 2017 estimates average from $0.75 to $0.76. Additionally, the analyst boosts third-quarter EPS from $0.32 to $0.36, as a reflection of “greater” bauxite shipments coupled with a mark-to-market update, and lifts 2017 estimates from $1.50 to $1.54.

From Tanners’ perspective, it is likely there will be “some improvement” in the Engineered Products and Solutions (EPS) segment, “assuming progress on Firth Rixson’s behind-schedule isothermal forge ramp up.” Currently, Tanners’ projections top the Street at $0.33 for third-quarter estimates, but fall under consensus in regards to 2017 estimates at $1.77.

As far as Tanners is concerned, Alcoa World Alumina (AWAC), the company’s global alumina business that is a collaborative business venture with Alumina Limited, on back of directly selling bauxite is now “supporting a better margin” in spite of difficulties in China and a cautious bank attitude towards a “struggling” aluminum industry.

The analyst believes, “Guidance implied a softer EPS q/q outlook, but CEO Klaus Kleinfeld has noted Q4E could buck seasonal weakness as demand for its specialty metals structurally improves. We think investors are underestimating the benefit of bauxite sales and cost-cutting upstream while they may be too cautious on downstream given structurally better jet engine metal demand.”

“We think strong upstream results support its split plans and we do not think investors give it credit for aerospace growth out to 2018E,” Tanners concludes.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform. Four-star analyst Timna Tanners is ranked #924 out of 4,183 analysts. Tanners has a 62% success rate and yields 5.2% in her annual returns. However, when recommending AA, Tanners faces a loss of 8.8% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit AVGO as a Strong Buy. Based on 27 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 26 rate a Buy on AVGO, while 1 maintains a Hold. The 12-month price target stands at $201.09, marking a 15% upside from where the shares last closed.

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