Alcoa tells U.S. SEC that warehousing reforms could hit premiums

Wed Jul 2, 2014 6:47pm EDT

An Alcoa aluminum plant in Alcoa, Tennessee is seen in this April 8, 2014 file photograph.  REUTERS/Wade Payne/Files

An Alcoa aluminum plant in Alcoa, Tennessee is seen in this April 8, 2014 file photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Wade Payne/Files

(Reuters) - Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc will warn investors about the risks that proposed warehousing rules could pose to its business, saying they could affect its finances and the premiums it charges, according to correspondence with regulators.

In a reply to queries from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Alcoa said warehousing reforms could push more aluminum onto the physical market, reducing the premiums paid by users who take physical delivery of the metal. The company added that it would raise the number of the risk factors disclosed in its future filings.

"Decreases in regional delivery and product premiums, decreases in LME aluminum prices and increases in the supply of aluminum could have a material adverse effect on Alcoa's business, financial condition and results of operations or cash flow," it said in a sample of the disclosure it plans to include in future filings.

The wording was similar to that in the company's SEC filing for first-quarter financial results earlier this year.

Last year, the London Metal Exchange, the world's oldest and biggest market for industrial metals, proposed rule changes to cut long backlogs at warehouses in its network. In March, a court ruling halted the plan, but the exchange said last month it would appeal.

Alcoa and other aluminum producers earn a premium above LME benchmark prices from aluminum users such as beverage can makers who, unlike financial buyers, need physical delivery of the metal. Some premiums have reached record highs this year, even as benchmark prices languish.

An Alcoa spokeswoman would not comment beyond the filing.

(Reporting by Allison Martell. Editing by Andre Grenon and Steve Orlofsky)