Steel Mills

Olympic Reports Record Quarterly, First-Half Sales

Written by Tim Triplett

Olympic Steel Inc. announced significantly improved financial results for the three- and six-month periods ended June 30. Net sales for the service center increased 27 percent in 2018’s second quarter, to $453 million, the highest quarterly sales in the company’s history. This compared with $356 million in net sales during the same quarter of 2017.

Year-to-date net sales rose 20 percent over the same period in 2017, reaching a record $829 million in 2018’s first half, versus $691 million in the first half of 2017. Higher shipping volume and higher average prices drove the year-over-year growth, company executives told analysts and investors during the company’s quarterly conference call.

“Record sales tonnage of specialty metals products helped us achieve record revenue in the quarter and six-month period,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Siegal. “In addition, our strong margins have substantially improved this year’s financial results.”

Olympic’s second-quarter net income in 2018 increased 230 percent to $15.8 million compared with net income of $4.8 million in the prior-year quarter. “Our stainless-steel sales were already at all-time highs prior to our acquisition of Berlin Metals in April,” Siegal said. “We have successfully integrated Berlin’s business into our existing specialty metals operating segment and we continue to evaluate additional strategic acquisition opportunities.”

Olympic anticipates more of the same in the second half. “Most importantly, we see no change in the strong business conditions as we enter the third quarter,” Siegal said. “Our outstanding balance sheet is creating additional opportunities to further penetrate the markets we serve.”

Olympic continues to emphasize the processing side of its business, installing more value added equipment to improve productivity and margins. It is also increasing its participation in the auto sector with specialty grade carbon, aluminum and stainless steel products. Olympic is ideally positioned to continue supporting the auto industry’s move toward lighter-weight metals and component outsourcing, Siegal said.

The coming months will pose some challenges, he warned. “Let me point out that the strengthening economy is increasing the competition for skilled labor and intensifying freight availability, indicating that recent cost pressures will persist in the second half of the year.” The company is actively reducing inventories to counter the effects of rising interest rates.

Headquartered in Cleveland, Olympic Steel operates 31 facilities in North America, distributing processed carbon, coated and stainless flat-rolled sheet, coil and plate steel, aluminum and tin products. The company’s Chicago Tube & Iron subsidiary is a leading distributor of steel tubing, bar, pipe, valves and fittings, and fabricates pressure parts for the electric utility industry.

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