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Russel earnings inch higher on healthy industry recovery

Keywords: Tags  Russel Metals, service center, steel distributor, Brian Hedges

NEW YORK — Canadian distributor and processor Russel Metals Inc. reported another profitable quarter in the first three months of the year as demand in the North American industrial sector continued to improve.

"Operating profit for the first quarter in our metals service center segment was generated by strong demand levels, unlike the comparable first quarter of 2011, which experienced inventory holding gains," president and chief executive officer Brian Hedges said in a statement. "The growth in the first quarter reflects a continued healthy recovery in the industrial segment of the North American economy."

Toronto-based Russel posted net income of Canadian $33.1 million ($33.3 million) for the three months ended March 31, up 0.3 percent from the same period last year, on sales that climbed 22.1 percent to C$802.9 million ($807 million).

Contributing to the stronger quarter was an 18-percent increase in revenue by its service center segment, a 23-percent rise in revenue by its energy tubular products segment and a 42-percent spike in revenue by its steel distributors segment, the company said.

"This is a strong performance in a market experiencing tighter gross profit margins due to softening domestic steel prices," Hedges said.

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