US Steel Narrows Q1 Loss on Improved Sales

Improved demand, higher steel prices and more efficient operations helped narrow loss.

United States Steel Corp. on April 27 said it narrowed its first-quarter loss as demand improved for steel used in products such as appliances, automobiles and heavy industrial equipment.

The Pittsburgh manufacturer reported a net loss attributable to the corporation of $157 million, or $1.10 per share, for the quarter. A year ago, it lost $439 million, or $3.78 per share.

Revenue rose to $3.9 billion from $2.75 billion a year ago.

U.S. Steel is the latest in a series of steel manufacturers who are seeing a gradual improvement in business after struggling through a difficult 2009 when recession-battered customers cut back on steel orders.

The company credited its improved performance to higher steel prices and shipments as well as cost-cutting measures that it has taken in the past year that have made operations more efficient.

"We anticipate being profitable in all three of our operating segments in the second quarter of 2010 as gradually improving business conditions should be reflected in our operating results," Chairman and CEO John P. Surma said.

"We continue to experience healthy order rates from most of our end markets, resulting in increased production levels," he stated.

Argus Research analyst Bill Selesky said it was a good quarter for the company and noted that it is increasing production at some facilities. "They would not do that unless they thought they had a window here where demand was going up," he said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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