AK Steel Reports Loss on Shutdown and Benefit Charges

Steelmaker expects operating performance to break even in first quarter.

AK Steel Holding Corp. reported a fourth-quarter loss after incurring pretax charges related to a plant shutdown and a retiree benefit settlement during the three-month period, the company said Jan. 25.

The company said it lost $98.3 million, 89 cents a share, compared with a profit of $39.8 million, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

AK Steel incurred a $63.7 million pretax charge related to the previously announced shutdown of its Ashland, Ky., coke plant, and a $9.1 million pretax charge related to a retiree benefit settlement associated with its Butler, Pa., Works.

Excluding the charges, the company's after-tax loss was $54.5 million, or 49 cents per share.

The company said its average selling price during the quarter was $1,022 per ton, approximately 6% higher than the $964 per-ton average price realized in the year-earlier period.

For the full-year, AK Steel reported a net loss of $128.9 million, or $1.17 per share, compared to a loss of $74.6 million, or 68 cents a share, in 2009.

Shipments in 2010 were 5,660,900 tons compared with 3,935,500 tons in 2009.

AK Steel said it expects shipments in the first three months will be up 7% over the fourth quarter. The company projects average per-ton selling prices will rise approximately 8% from the year-end period as contract and spot market prices rise and product mixes improve.

AK Steel projects higher iron ore, scrap and coal prices in the first quarter, which will be partially offset by an improved operating performance.

Overall, the company said it expects to break even at the operating level.

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