NEW YORK AK Steel Corp.
posted its seventh consecutive quarterly loss in the first
three months of this year, but the steelmaker expects an
improvement in spot market pricing to play out later this
The West Chester, Ohio-based
steelmakers first-quarter net loss totaled $9.9 million,
a far cry from a $230.4-million loss in the fourth quarter of
2012 and a 16.1-percent improvement from an $11.8-million loss
a year earlier.
First-quarter sales of $1.37 billion were down
9.2 percent from $1.51 billion in the same period last year on
shipments that fell 3 percent to 1.29 million tons from 1.33
million tons in the same comparison.
The company had previously
warned that it expected to record a lossalbeit a smaller
oneas a traditional first-quarter uptick had yet to
amm.com, March 22).
A number of factors contributed
to the weakness, AK Steel said, although lower shipments in the
carbon spot market were partially offset by increased shipments
to the automotive market.
"While the automotive market was
a bright spot for our business, markets remained challenging
for some products, particularly those in the spot market,"
chairman, president and chief executive officer James L.
Wainscott said in a statement. "Simply put, global steelmaking
capacity continues to exceed demand. Additionally, the cyclical
improvement in spot market pricing we normally see during the
first quarter did not materialize and is expected to occur
later this year."
The steelmaker said its sales
prices averaged $1,602 per ton in the first quarter, up 5
percent from the fourth quarterthanks to a higher
value-added product mix and higher carbon spot market prices,
partially offset by lower selling prices for electrical steel
products globallybut down 7 percent from a year earlier
due to reduced raw material surcharges, lower selling prices
for electrical steel and lower spot market prices for carbon
Looking forward, AK Steel said
that lower raw material costs expected in the second quarter
should offset maintenance costs related to a planned seven-day
blast furnace outage at its Middletown, Ohio, facility.