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July 7, 1997

Operating Income Up Despite Lower Prices

PITTSBURGH--July 7, 1997-- Alcoa today announced earnings of $207.6 million, or $1.19 per common share, for the second quarter of 1997, compared with earnings of $132.2 million, or 76 cents a share, in the 1996 second quarter. Earnings in the 1996 quarter included an after-tax charge of $40.0 million for the shutdown of ceramic packaging operations.

Second quarter 1997 earnings included after-tax losses of $7.1 million, or four cents per share, as a result of marking to market certain aluminum commodity contracts. For the comparable 1996 quarter, after-tax losses resulting from marking to market these contracts were $33.8 million, or 19 cents per share.

For the first half of 1997, earnings were $366.7 million, or $2.11 per common share. For the comparable 1996 period, earnings were $310.4 million, or $1.77 per share, including the shutdown charge.

Income from operations before taxes and special items totaled $424.0 million in the second quarter of 1997 compared with $350.1 million in the 1996 second quarter. Volumes were higher and controllable expenses were lower. Prices improved from first quarter 1997 levels but remained lower than second quarter 1996.

Return on shareholders' equity for the 1997 first half, annualized, was 15.7%, compared with 15.1% in the first half of 1996, excluding the charge.

Second quarter 1997 revenues of $3.4 billion were level with those in the 1996 second quarter. Year-to-date, 1997 revenues were $6.7 billion compared with $6.6 billion for the 1996 first half.

Aluminum shipments were 760,000 metric tons (mt) for the 1997 second quarter, compared with 721,000 mt in the year-ago quarter. During the 1997 first half, shipments were 1,480,000 mt, compared with 1,377,000 mt in the 1996 period.

Alcoa is the world's leading producer of aluminum. The company has 178 operating locations in 28 countries.