Freemarkets inks pact with Alcoa

FreeMarkets Inc. (Nasdaq: FMKT), a B2B company which specializes in several verticals, announced inroads in the metals industry Monday through a deal with Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), a producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina.

Shares in the company closed at 55 29/64 Friday, having surged recently after it delivered strong second quarter sales and received upgrades from analysts. The stock has risen and fallen with other B2B players, such as Ariba (Nasdaq: ARBA), PurchasePro.com (Nasdaq: PPRO) and Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC), which also delivered strong growth in recent quarters.

Under the terms of the agreement, which follows the successful completion of a pilot program the companies began in January, FreeMarkets will provide Alcoa with access to its B2B eMarketplace, which Alcoa will use to source goods and services for its operations around the world.

Alcoa said FreeMarkets' B2B eMarketplace is part of its global sourcing and cost reduction strategy. Alcoa also is one of a group of metal companies which formed an online venture called MetalSpectrum.