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Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (AA - Analyst Report) announced the sale of its 378-megawatt Tapoco Hydroelectric Project to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, a Canadian company engaged in operating renewable energy platforms worldwide.

Tapoco is a four-station hydroelectric project located on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. The sale includes four hydroelectric power generating stations and dams, 86 miles of transmission line and a total of 14,500 acres of land surrounding Tapoco.

Alcoa was responsible for the construction of the Tapoco Hydroelectric Project and secured its license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to power its aluminum smelting and rolling mill operations in Alcoa, Tennessee.

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners operates one of the largest publicly-traded, pure-play renewable power platforms globally. Its portfolio is primarily hydroelectric and totals approximately 5,000 megawatts of installed capacity.

Last month, Alcoa reported a loss of $143 million or 13 cents for the third quarter of 2012, driven by a hefty charge associated with environmental remediation and legal settlement, and lower aluminum pricing. It compared with a profit of $172 million or 15 cents a share in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding one-time special items (a $175 million charge mainly related to environmental remediation of the Grasse River and the settlement of a civil lawsuit with Aluminum Bahrain), Alcoa earned $32 million or 3 cents a share in the quarter compared with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a break even result. The company incurred a $40 million charge associated with the legal settlement in the quarter.

Revenues decreased 9.1% year over year and 2.2% sequentially to $5,833 million, but were ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5,565 million. Alcoa said that aluminum prices dropped 17% year over year and 5% sequentially in the third quarter.

Alcoa witnessed strong productivity growth in its upstream and downstream businesses in the quarter on the back of higher utilization rates, process innovations, lower scrap rates and usage reductions. The company saw healthy demand across the aerospace and automotive markets in the quarter.

The company has lowered its global aluminum demand forecast for 2012 to 6% from its earlier expectation of 7%, owing to the slowdown in China. The company, however, expects the aluminum market to double in 2020 from the 2010 level as the market is already ahead of the required 6.5% compound annual growth rate.

Pennsylvania-based Alcoa Inc. is among the world’s leading producers of primary and fabricated aluminum and alumina. The company competes with Aluminum Corporation Of China Limited and RioTinto plc. (RIO - Analyst Report). It currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Hold rating and we have a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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