Environment and Energy

SunCoke Earnings Tumble in Q3; Deal With USS on Granite City Moves Forward

Written by Becca Moczygemba

SunCoke Energy Inc.

Third quarter ended Sept. 3020232022% Change
Net sales$520.4$516.80.70%
Net earnings (loss)$7$41.4-83.1%
Per diluted share$0.08$0.49-83.7%
Nine months ended Sept. 30
Net sales$1,542.6$1,458.5-5.8%
Net earnings (loss)$48.2$92.1-47.7%
Per diluted share$0.51$1.05-51.4%
(in millions of dollars except per share)

Although SunCoke Energy Inc.’s third-quarter earnings slumped due to market challenges, the company said it is content with its third-quarter performance.

“We are pleased with the operating performance across our segments in the third quarter,” Katherine Gates, president of SunCoke Energy, said in a statement.

Gates noted that the coke plants are running at full capacity, but non-contracted blast coke sales were down. The logistics branch of the company was impacted by lower volumes and pricing due to weaker demand, she said.

The metallurgical coke producer’s Q3 net income of $7 million fell 83% from the $41.4 million it posted in Q3 2022. Q3 sales were down 0.70% year over year to $520.4 million.

The Lisle, Ill.-based company’s domestic coke segment shipped 1.016 million tons in Q3, a 0.6% decrease from 1.022 million tons shipped in the same period one year prior.

The facilities include coke-making plants and heat-recovery operations in Jewell, Va.; East Chicago, Ind.; Franklin Furnace, Ohio; Middletown, Ohio; and Granite City, Ill.

For full-year 2023, SunCoke said it expects to produce a total of 4.0 million tons of domestic coke. This is roughly in line with 2022 production.

The company continues to work closely on an agreement with U.S. Steel. Recall that SunCoke signed a non-binding agreement with the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker in June 2022.

Under the agreement, SunCoke would acquire the blast furnaces at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works near St. Louis. The blast furnaces would be repurposed to process iron ore and manufacture pig iron for U.S. Steel.

“That is continuing to move forward, and it is a very high priority for us,” Gates said on the company’s Nov. 1 earnings call. “It’s a complex project, but we continue to work with U.S. Steel and they continue to work with us.”

U.S. Steel temporarily idled its blast furnace ‘B’ at Granite City Works in September in response to the recently concluded United Auto Workers (UAW) strike. The ‘A’ furnace was indefinitely idled in April 2020, according to SMU’s blast furnace status table

Though UAW members have returned to work, the tentative labor deals with the “Big Three” Detroit-area automakers need to be ratified by the workers.

Becca Moczygemba

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