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Olympic Steel profit falls on lower shipments, steel prices

Keywords: Tags  Olympic Steel, earnings report, steel prices, pipe, tube, flat-rolled, steel, Mike Siegal

CHICAGO — Metals service center operator Olympic Steel Inc. posted net income of $5.16 million in the first quarter, down 17.1 percent from $6.23 million in the same period last year on revenue that slid 11.5 percent to $338.06 million from record sales of $382.05 million in the first three months of 2012.

Lower steel prices and reduced volume contributed to the decline in revenue, chairman and chief executive officer Michael D. Siegal said May 3.

"Business activity sequentially rebounded in the first quarter compared with the end of last year," Siegal said. And even though steel prices also have increased from the lows of late last year, "they are below year-ago levels and are expected to remain soft."

Olympic Steel’s tubular and pipe products segment again performed well in the first quarter, Siegal said, with operating earnings climbing 4.9 percent even though sales declined 4.7 percent. In contrast, operating earnings by the flat-rolled segment slumped 38.4 percent on sales that fell 12.9 percent.

However, the company’s start-up ventures have increasingly contributed to consolidated profits as they continue to mature, according to Siegal.

Having essentially completed the capital spending associated with the company’s multiyear growth plan, Olympic is now "focused on generating higher cash flow and earnings," he said.

The Bedford Heights, Ohio-based company sold 292,000 tons of flat-rolled products during first quarter, down 6.1 percent from 311,000 tons a year earlier.

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