But Kaiser’s performance suggested, according to its chief executive Jack Hockema, that the economic and market environment was still ‘challenging’ with overall demand still weak.

Kaiser’s higher revenue was attributed to a surge in sales by automobile manufacturers and a decline in stock inventories. Shipments of aluminium plates to aerospace companies declined with orders shifting from the third to the fourth quarter.

The company was reticent to make a forecast about future sales and profits, and would merely say that the market outlook remained ‘similar to conditions experienced in the previous six months.’