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Nucor predicts year-on-year earnings decline

Keywords: Tags  steel, Nucor, DRI, direct-reduced iron, Trindad, guidance, Duferdofin Nucor, steel Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — Nucor Corp. said it expects to see its second-quarter earnings hold largely unchanged from the first quarter but decline from the year-ago period as weak performance in the sheet and structural steel markets is partially offset by stronger plate and raw materials sectors.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker has projected a net income of 25 to 30 cents per diluted share for the three months ended June 29. That range is similar to the 26 cents per share recorded in the first quarter but down from 35 cents per share recorded in the same period last year, it said in a guidance released June 13.

Nucor noted that second-quarter performance in its steel mills segment will likely be down from the first quarter due to the weaker sheet and structural steel markets, but it added that its fabricated construction products divisions appear to be on the mend.

"As we expected, our fabricated construction products businesses are projected to return to profitability in the second quarter after the typical seasonal slowdown in the first quarter led to a modest loss," the company said.

Nucor’s raw materials segment is also expected to report stronger results in the second quarter, primarily due to normalized operations at its direct-reduced iron (DRI) facility in Trinidad following an unplanned 18-day outage in the first quarter.

Nucor’s second-quarter results are also expected to include no last-in first-out charges or credits, in contrast with the $18-million charge recorded in the first quarter and the $14.5-million credit included in the second quarter of 2012. Also affecting last year’s earnings were a non-cash impairment charge of $30 million related to the company’s Duferdofin Nucor Srl joint venture and a non-cash charge of $8.5 million related to its sales to Skyline Steel LLC following the acquisition of that business in June 2012 (, June 21).

Looking forward, the company said that while its strongest end markets continue to involve manufactured goods, including energy and automotive, other segments remain less than robust.

"Thus far in 2013, nonresidential construction markets continue to lack sustained momentum," the company said. "But they are slowly improving from historically low levels."

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