Steel Mills

SDI Expects Record Earnings in 2018

Written by Tim Triplett

In guidance on Tuesday, Steel Dynamics, Inc., (SDI) reported its expectations for record annual earnings in 2018 despite challenges in the fourth quarter.

The company expects fourth-quarter earnings in the range of $1.11 to $1.15 per diluted share. Earnings were impacted by several factors: the $14 million cost of a planned maintenance outage at the company’s liquid pig iron facility; $20 million in planned maintenance outages at the company’s two flat roll steel mills, which reduced fourth-quarter shipments by an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 tons; and additional performance-based compensation. SDI’s fourth-quarter guidance compares to earnings of $1.69 per diluted share in the prior quarter and $1.28 per share in fourth-quarter 2017.

Fourth-quarter 2018 profitability from the company’s steel operations is expected to be strong, but lower than record third-quarter results, primarily driven by lower earnings from the company’s flat roll business.  Flat roll operations incurred higher maintenance costs and lower shipments due to seasonal slowing and major maintenance outages at both its Butler and Columbus locations, as well as flat roll metal spread compression.

Fourth-quarter earnings from the company’s metals recycling platform are expected to increase from third-quarter results as recycled non-ferrous metal spreads and shipments improved in the fourth quarter.

Profitability of the company’s steel fabrication business is expected to increase in the fourth quarter.  Average sales prices are expected to improve from the prior quarter, more than offsetting seasonally lower shipments. The company continues to experience seasonally strong steel fabrication order activity and backlogs, and positive customer sentiment concerning 2019.

Based on strong steel demand fundamentals and customer optimism, the company believes steel consumption and market dynamics will remain strong in 2019. In addition to continued organic and transactional growth, the company expects to repurchase more than 5 percent of its outstanding shares, or over $500 million, during 2018.

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