Bloomberg News

Nucor Profit Guidance Misses Estimates on Inventory Charge

December 16, 2011

(Updates with closing share price in eighth paragraph.)

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Nucor Corp., the largest U.S. steelmaker by market value, forecast fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates after reporting a larger-than- expected inventory cost.

Earnings will be 22 cents to 27 cents a share, including a 16-cent charge for inventories held in the quarter, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said in a statement today. Analysts expected profit of 41 cents, according to the average of 20 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The inventory charge was about $50 million more than expected because of higher scrap-metal costs, Nucor said.

Orders fell early in the quarter because volatile raw material costs for steel scrap and iron ore, two primary steelmaking raw materials, led customers to delay purchases, Nucor said in the statement.

The average price of shredded steel scrap rose 18 percent in the quarter to $437.73 a long ton, according to Steel Business Briefing data. Nucor remelts scrap steel.

U.S. steelmakers are recovering from the collapse in orders from automotive and construction industries after the 2008 economic crisis. Mills are restraining output to support price increases as markets such as manufacturing and heavy equipment grow.

Hot-rolled steel coil, a benchmark product used in cars and appliances, rose an average of 9 percent to $652.5 a short ton so far in the fourth quarter, according to Steel Business Briefing, while capacity utilization rose 7 percent to average 73.7 percent since Oct. 1, according to data from the American Iron and Steel Association.

Nucor fell 0.3 percent to $38.61 in New York. The shares have fallen 12 percent this year.

--Editors: Jessica Resnick-Ault, Tina Davis

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net


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