Steel Mills

U.S. Steel’s $1.8 Billion “Goodwill Impairment” Charge

Written by John Packard

U.S. Steel will report their 3rd Quarter earnings this week. Prior to the announcement the company and its new CEO, Mario Longhi announced what many in the industry already knew – two asset purchases made in 2007 are not worth what the company paid for them. The result is USS is taking a non-cash goodwill impairment charge.

I asked one of the metals and mining analysts to explain to Steel Market Update what is meant by a “non-cash goodwill impairment charge.”

“…short version is that companies record goodwill when they make acquisitions, generally to reflect value above the underlying worth of the assets – i.e. brands, or special customer relationships. They have to conduct impairment tests to determine if the value on their books is still valid. Anyway, this is ultimately a concession by X that they no longer can justify a view that the value of the asset on the books will be realized in the future. So they write down their asset value but it doesn’t change their earnings.”

The assets they are writing down are the acquisitions of the former Stelco mills in Canada (now USS Hamilton and USS Lake Erie) as well as Lone Star Technologies (manufacturer of tubular products used in the energy industry).

The flat rolled section of U.S. Steel took a $1 billion goodwill impairment charge while their Texas Operations took a $.8 billion charge for a combined total of $1.8 billion.

The goodwill impairment charges are only to recognize the loss of value in the U.S. Steel Canada plants and Lone Star Technologies. The charges will not affect the company’s 3rd Quarter earnings which will be reported on Tuesday, October 29th. What it does do for investors is take the “book value” of the company from approximately $24 per share to approximately $11 per share.

Latest in Steel Mills