SDI cuts 4th-quarter earnings estimate [UPDATE]

Dec 14, 2006 | 11:01 AM | Sam Kusic

Steel Dynamics Inc. has lowered its fourth-quarter earnings guidance 5 percent, saying that greater-than-anticipated softness in the flat-rolled steel sector is going to impact profits.

The Fort Wayne, Ind.,-based steelmaker is now forecasting earnings in the range of $1 to $1.05 per diluted share. It had called for earnings on the order of $1.05 to $1.10 per diluted share when it first offered its guidance in October. However, the company pointed out that it expects fiscal 2006 per-share earnings will be up more than 70 percent over 2005, despite the fourth-quarter softness.

Following the news, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., New York, lowered its estimates for SDI's fourth-quarter earnings to $1.05 per share from a previous estimate of $1.07 per share.

In a statement, SDI said flat-rolled steel accounts for about half of its total shipments and that since the middle of October, the market softness has yielded weaker order entries and lower prices. As a result, SDI slowed the pace of production at its flat-roll mill, drawing back output to about 85 percent of capacity this month and in November.....

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