Chesterton Tribune

USS posts stronger quarter but hit by pretax losses and charges

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By KEVIN NEVERS

U.S. Steel Corporation (USS) is reporting a net loss in the first quarter of 2012 of $219 million or $1.52 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $211 million or $1.46 in the fourth quarter of 2011 and a net loss of $86 million or 60 cents in the year-ago period.

That $219 million net loss includes a pre-tax loss of $399 million on the sale of U.S. Steel Serbia; a pre-tax charge of $18 million in connection with environmental remediation; a pre-tax gain of $89 million on the sale of transportation assets; and a pre-tax gain of $19 million in connection with property-tax settlements.

Adjusted net income—after taking account of the various pre-tax losses and gains—was $110 million or 67 cents per diluted share.

A foreign-currency loss, meanwhile, decreased net income in the first quarter by $51 million or 35 cents per diluted share, while a separate foreign-currency gain increased it by $81 million or 56 cents.

Meanwhile, USS is reporting a marked improvement in income from operations: $295 million in the first quarter, compared to a loss from operations of $26 million in the fourth quarter.

“We reported a significant improvement in our operating results in the first quarter as compared to the fourth quarter, mainly driven by improved average realized prices and shipments for our flat-rolled segment,” USS Chair and CEO John Surma said. “Our tubular segment had another strong performance reflecting the continued strength of oil-directed drilling. U.S. Steel Europe results, excluding the loss on the sale of U.S. Steel Serbia, improved but continued to reflect the challenging economic situation in the region.”

Outlook

“We expect all three of our operating segments to reflect positive results from operations with total segment results consistent with the first quarter,” Surma said. “Our European segment is expected to return to positive income from operations reflecting improved average realized prices. Our tubular segment is expected to perform well with results similar to the first quarter. Our flat-rolled segment results are expected to decrease due primarily to higher maintenance costs.”

“Shipments and average realized prices for our flat-rolled segment are expected to remain comparable to the first quarter as end user demand remains stable and spot market inventories appear to be aligned with end user demand,” USS said. “Maintenance costs are expected to increase by approximately $50 million over the first quarter, primarily for spending related to scheduled blast furnace and other maintenance projects. All other operating costs are expected to be comparable with the first quarter.”

1Q Income from Operations

•Flat-rolled reported an income from operations of $183 million, compared to a loss of $72 million in the fourth quarter and a loss of $36 million in the year-ago period.

•U.S. Steel Europe (USSE) reported a loss from operations of $34 million, compared to a loss of $89 million in the fourth quarter and a loss of $5 million in the year-ago period.

•Tubular reported an income from operations of $129 million, compared to an income of $119 million in the fourth quarter and an income of $32 million in the year-ago period.

•Other businesses reported an income from operations of $17 million, compared to an income of $16 million in the fourth quarter and an income of $13 million in the year-ago period.

•Total income from operations was $295 million, compared to a loss of $26 million in the fourth quarter and an income of $4 million in the year-ago period. After adjusting for assorted pre-tax losses and gains, USS tallied a total loss from operations of $73 million, compared to $143 million in the fourth quarter and $91 million in the year-ago period.

More Numbers

•The average realized price per net ton of flat-rolled was $764 in the first quarter, compared to $741 in the fourth quarter and $720 in the year-ago period.

•USS and USSE shipped a total of 5.666 million tons in the first quarter, compared to 5.419 million in the fourth quarter and 5.824 in the year-ago period.

•Flat-rolled raw-steel capability utilization was 83 percent in the first quarter, compared to 75 percent in the fourth quarter and 77 percent in the year-ago period.

•USS reported net sales of $5.172 billion in the first quarter, compared to $4.819 billion in the fourth quarter and $4.864 billion in the year-ago period.

•Flat-rolled capital expenditures were $181 million in the first quarter, compared to $189 million in the fourth quarter and $125 million in the year-ago period.

•On March 31, USS had $652 million in cash and $2.5 billion in total liquidity, compared to $408 million in cash and $1.8 billion in total liquidity on Dec. 31, 2011.

 

Posted 4/24/2012