NEW YORK Schnitzer Steel
Industries Inc.s steel manufacturing unit, which operates
as Cascade Steel Rolling Mills Inc., logged a profitable fiscal
second quarter on the back of improved rebar sales, even as it
saw total steel sales drop 16 percent year over year as a
result of easing coiled product demand and import
Although Portland, Ore.-based
Schnitzers steel sales fell to $71 million in the second
quarter ended Feb. 28 from $85 million in the same period last
year, the company expressed optimism about the burgeoning West
Coast construction market during an earnings call with
investors April 3.
"Were seeing the green
shoots of construction demand strengthen on the West Coast, and
we think the mill is well positioned to benefit from that as
that takes hold," president and chief executive officer Tamara
Lundgren told investors on the call.
Rebar sales, a reflection of
construction bookings, sustained Schnitzers steel unit in
the period, rising 13.7 percent year over year to 58,132 tons
in the second quarter. At the same time, coiled product sales
volumes fell 42.4 percent to 32,130 short tons for the quarter,
accounting for most of the units sales decline. Merchant
product sales were largely flat at 5,355 tons.
Improving bids for residential
construction, measured by an Architectural Billings Index (ABI)
that has remained positive for seven months in a row, are
beginning to translate into higher sales, although the company
hasnt seen the full uptick yet, Lundgren said.
"The spring activity hasnt really taken place yet. But
... we are seeing order books strengthen from our customers,"
Lundgren said. "This is really a function of seven months of
strong ABI performance input from our customers that indicate
high bidding activity and (the) pickup that weve seen in