Steel Mills

USS swings to loss in Q4'23, sees Nippon deal closing in Q2/Q3'24

Written by Ethan Bernard

U.S. Steel Corp.

Fourth quarter ended Dec.3120232022% Change
Net sales$4,144$4,338-4%
Net income (loss)($80)$174-146%
Per diluted share($0.36)$0.68-153%
Full year ended Dec.31
Net sales$18,053$21,065-14%
Net income (loss)$895$2,524-65%
Per diluted share$3.56$9.16-61%
(in millions of dollars except per share)

U.S. Steel swung to a loss in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker reported a net loss of $80 million in Q4’23 vs. net income of $174 million in Q4’22 on sales that fell 4% to $4.14 billion.

The company’s flat rolled operations realized a Q4’23 average selling price of $978 per short ton (st), down 10% from $1,086/st a year earlier. However, its mini mill operations reported an average realized selling price of $807/st, up 3% from $786/st in the same comparison.

U.S. Steel reported total steel shipments of 3.8 million st in Q4’23, up from 3.4 million st in the year-ago quarter.

The earnings report was the company’s first since it announced in December that Japan’s Nippon Steel had made a successful bid of more than $14 billion for the company. The deal now faces federal government review. U.S. Steel will not hold a Q4 earnings call as, traditionally, companies remain tight-lipped during the acquisitions process.

Burritt sees deal closing before Q4

“The combination of two innovative steel companies strengthens the competitive landscape of the steel industry,” U.S. Steel president and CEO David Burritt said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “We are looking forward to the closing of the transaction, which we expect will be in the second or third quarter 2024.”

This comes amid speculation the deal may be delayed because it’s a political football in an election year. Former President Donald Trump has said he will oppose the deal if elected in 2024.

Operations and outlook

Commenting on operations, Burritt said the company produced its first direct reduced-grade pellets from its investment at its Keetac facility in Minnesota.

Additionally, he said U.S. Steel remains “on track for the start-up of the two remaining strategic projects in 2024 – our dual Galvalume/galvanized coating line in Arkansas at Big River Steel in the second quarter of 2024 and our new state-of-the-art mini mill, Big River 2 (BR2), in the second half of 2024.”

“Our board has authorized additional capital to ensure BR2 is completed successfully. The company now expects total capital spend for BR2 will be approximately $3.2 billion,” he added.

Looking forward, Burritt said, “We are entering 2024 with momentum. Lead times are extended, reflecting broad customer demand, and our operations are running at high levels of utilization to efficiently fill customers’ orders.”

Ethan Bernard

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