Alcoa reports strong first quarter profits

Net earnings were $308M for the quarter, compared with a net loss of $201M a year earlier.

The firm was helped by the rising price of aluminium, and continued demand for the product.

The Pittsburgh company said there had been demand from packaging, automotive, transportation and industrial firms.

"Our outlook for the rest of 2011 and beyond remains very positive due to the world's growing population (and) increasing urbanisation," said chairman and chief executive officer Klaus Kleinfeld.

The firm's earnings in the previous quarter had been $258M.