Steel Dynamics Inc.: 4Q Profit Signals Rebound

Company finishes strong with two consecutive profitable quarters

After posting losses in the first half of 2009, Steel Dynamics Inc. closed the year with a $26.7 million profit in the fourth quarter as steel prices and shipments increased over the year-earlier period.

The gain amounted to 12 cents per share compared with a loss of $82.7 million, or 45 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. In its Feb. 3 earnings statement, Steel Dynamics attributed the increase to strong flat-rolled and engineered-bar steel sales. Revenue dropped 3% to $1.2 billion for the quarter.

The final three months marked the company's second-straight profitable reporting period after posting losses in each of the first two quarters of 2009.

Steel shipments in the quarter totaled 1.2 million tons, 6% lower than the previous quarter but 24% higher than the year-earlier period. The average steel selling price increased $48 per ton to $675 per ton. Steel shipments for the year were 4 million tons, a 28% decrease, and the year-to-year average selling price per ton decreased $322 to $651 in 2009.

Steel-recycling subsidiary OmniSource generated a $4.6 million profit in the quarter.

Steel Dynamics Inc.
At A Glance

Steel Dynamics Inc.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Primary Industry: Primary Metals
Number of Employees: 6,650
2008 In Review
Revenue: $8.1 billion
Profit Margin: 5.74%
Sales Turnover: 1.54
Inventory Turnover: 7.11
Revenue Growth: 84.30%
Return On Assets: 10.25%
Return On Equity: 30.30%
For the year, the company posted an $8.2 million loss, or 4 cents a share, compared with a profit of $463 million, or $2.45 a share, in 2008. Full-year revenue was $4 billion, down 51% from 2008.

CEO Keith Busse said he thinks the company's performance in 2009 was respectable given the economic conditions during the year.

"With the exception of operations depending on non-residential construction, our business improved as the year progressed," he said in a Feb. 3 statement. "We ended the year on a sound footing, and I am very proud of our employees throughout the company. All have focused on efficient operations and cost control, as well as attention to product quality and customer service. 2009 was a tough year, but we came through this extraordinary period much better prepared."

Busse added that he expects business conditions to improve slightly in 2010 and that demand for its industrial steel products to remain strong, while construction-related steel components will be "very weak."

"There are numerous signs of recovery in the U.S. economy," Busse said. "Service center and OEM steel inventories are at historically low levels. "These are conditions when rapid changes traditionally occur in the steel marketplace."

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