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AK expects to log smaller loss in quarter

Keywords: Tags  steel, AK Steel, earnings forecast, quarterly earnings, steelmaker, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — AK Steel Corp. expects to record a net loss of between 9 and 13 cents per share for the first three months of 2013 as the traditional first-quarter improvement in the spot market has yet to materialize.

If the company’s earnings come in as expected, the first quarter will mark AK Steel’s seventh consecutive quarterly loss. However, the West Chester, Ohio-based steelmaker’s forecast will mark an improvement from the $1.89-per-share loss recorded in the fourth quarter, mainly due to lower costs for raw materials and improved average selling prices in the first quarter, the company said in guidance released March 22.

AK Steel also said it expects to record a non-cash tax benefit of some $4 million to $5 million for the first quarter due to a change in a tax valuation allowance related to the company’s deferred tax assets.

The company is forecasting steel shipments of about 1.275 million to 1.3 million tons in the first quarter, down from about 1.406 million in the preceding three months. While overall shipments will be down, the company added that it expects to see increased shipments sequentially due to buyers in the automotive market.

The company’s average selling price in the first quarter will be about $1,060 per ton, up 4.8 percent from an average $1,011 per ton in the previous quarter.

"The expected increase in average selling price is primarily due to a higher-priced product mix compared to the previous quarter," the company said.

AK Steel said in a recent conference call that earnings for the first quarter and 2013 as a whole should mark an improvement from previous quarters (, Jan. 29).

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