NEW YORK Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. remains optimistic despite logging a third-quarter net loss as sales declined due to harsh industry conditions.
"Difficult industry conditions are expected to persist in the fourth quarter; however, 2014 is expected to be a year of recovery in most of our end markets," chairman, president and chief executive officer Dennis Oates said in a statement.
Universals gross margin for the quarter was $2.4 million (5 percent of sales), down from $9.3 million (15.2 percent of sales) in the same year-ago period.
The thinning margins were due to "a shift in sales mix to lower margin products, lower surcharges due to the decline in raw material prices and lower manufacturing utilization," the company said.
"Production levels were flexed downward in response to market conditions through most of our operations," Oates said.
The Bridgeville, Pa.-based company posted a net loss of $1.7 million in the three months ended Sept. 30 in contrast with net income of $2.7 million in the same period last year on sales that fell 21 percent to $48.5 million, corresponding with a 15-percent year-on-year decline in shipping volumes.
The results were in line with the earnings guidance the company reported last month (amm.com, Oct. 28).
The company has also decided to maintain staff at its North Jackson, Ohio, facility, Oates said, describing the operation as "essential to our strategic plan to move Universals product mix to higher-margin premium alloys."