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A.M. Castle's net loss widens to $10.6M

Keywords: Tags  A.M. Castle, earnings report, Scott Dolan, metals segment, softer demand, Blain TIffany, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Specialty metals distributor A.M. Castle & Co. fell further into the red in the first quarter.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company posted a net loss of $10.62 million for the three months ended March 31 vs. a loss of $4.3 million in the same period last year and more than the $9.75-million loss for all of 2012, on sales that slid 19.3 percent to $292.71 million.

"The markets were a bit softer than we had anticipated during the first quarter," president and chief executive officer Scott Dolan said in a statement April 30.

The company’s metals segment posted first-quarter sales of $258.4 million, down 19.6 percent on a per-day basis compared with a year earlier. Tons sold per day were down 20 percent in the same comparison as virtually all of Castle’s key end-use markets experienced softer demand due to weaker conditions in the overall economy.

Castle continues to restructure operations with the goal of improving operating efficiency and customer satisfaction and reducing costs. Dolan said that plant consolidation activities are ahead of schedule, and inventory was reduced by more than $33 million on a replacement-cost basis.

Castle’s leadership has targeted $33 million of annual operating income improvement as part of the restructuring plan it announced in January, and expects to realize $20 million of that goal this year.

"As we move forward with an increased focus on revenue growth and market penetration, I will be taking over direct responsibility for the commercial teams," Dolan said.

After 12 years with the company, Blain Tiffany is stepping down as chief commercial officer to pursue other opportunities.

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