US Steel gets into the black in 1st quarter on better results for flat-rolled steel unit


NEW YORK, N.Y. – U.S. Steel says it turned a quarterly profit for the first time in more than a year as its costs decreased and its flat-rolled steel business performed better.

U.S. Steel last reported a profit in the third quarter of 2012, and it has lost money for five consecutive years. The company has been restructuring its business and reducing capacity to lower its spending.

The Pittsburgh company said Tuesday it earned $52 million, or 34 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $73 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier. Its revenue fell 3 per cent to $4.45 billion from $4.6 billion.

Analysts expected income of 33 cents per share and $4.51 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

U.S. Steel said shipments fell to 5.1 million tons from 5.5 million tons, but unlike last year, the flat-rolled steel business was profitable.

Steelmakers have struggled as the weak global economy failed to produce enough demand for their products, and U.S. producers face price competition from imports. In the fourth quarter U.S. Steel permanently shut down its Hamilton Works operations in Ontario, and it also took a large goodwill impairment charge connected to its North American flat-rolled and Texas Operations units. In total it lost $2 billion for the year.

The company said that it expects weather-related logistical issues to temporarily slow shipments in the second quarter, reducing its income from operations, although it did not give specific guidance.

Shares of U.S. Steel Corp. rose 2.4 per cent to $26.34 during the day and lost 64 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $25.70 in late trading.

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