Alcoa earnings jump on efficiency gains

US aluminum giant Alcoa Monday reported a 59 percent rise in year-over-year earnings, pointing to strong efficiency gains and a slightly tighter supply market.

Alcoa, the first major US company to report first quarter earnings, said profits came in at $149 million, up from $94 million in the same period last year. However, sequential profits were down from $242 million in the prior quarter.

Alcoa said the results were bolstered by $247 million in year-over-year productivity gains, due to process improvements and procurement savings.

Alcoa sees an "essentially balanced" alumina and aluminum markets. "However the company sees a slightly tighter market as supply contracts," Alcoa said.