Alcan (AL) - Get Report missed by a penny for the third quarter, though the aluminum giant said cash flow reached record levels.

The Montreal-based smelter made $460 million, or $1.21 a share, from continuing operations for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from the year-ago $72 million, or 19 cents a share. Excluding certain items, operating items rose to $1.22 a share from 53 cents a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $5.77 billion from $4.89 billion a year earlier, and operating cash flow surged to $803 million from $655 million last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a $1.23-a-share profit on sales of $5.59 billion.

"Operating cash flow reached an all-time high of $803 million, and we recorded the strongest third-quarter earnings performance in Alcan's history," said CEO Dick Evans. "We have worked hard to reduce costs, restructure businesses and upgrade our portfolio, and the effort is paying off. Our focus is squarely on managing for cash and real economic value, with the financial rigour and management systems to deliver," he continued.

"Alcan's recent dividend increase and share repurchase announcements reflect our confidence in the company's prospects and commitment to superior returns. We intend to maintain a disciplined approach to capital allocation balancing growth, returns to shareholders and balance-sheet strength. With aluminum market fundamentals expected to remain firm and normal seasonal patterns in cash flow, we expect fourth-quarter cash from operations to be even stronger," he concluded.