1-AK Steel 1st-quarter loss widens, shipments fall
Fri April 25, 2003 08:41 AM
(Adds sales, shipments details; background)
NEW YORK, April 25 (Reuters) - AK Steel Holding Corp. AKS.N
on Friday said its first-quarter loss widened due to lower
production volumes and higher costs for natural gas, pension
benefits and health care.
The company, which makes flat-rolled carbon, stainless and
electrical steel products, said its net loss was $40.8
million, or 38 cents per share, compared with a loss of $25.6
million, or 24 cents, a year earlier.
Sales rose to $1.0 billion from $967.7 million last year,
but shipments of steel fell about 5 percent.
Middletown, Ohio-based AK Steel said it reduced shipments
to the appliance, construction and manufacturing markets due
to weak demand, and to the spot market as a result of lower
than expected prices.
Last week, AK Steel's attempt to acquire bankrupt National
Steel Corp. NSTLB.OB
for $925 million was trumped by a lower bid by United States
Steel Corp. X.N
, in part because U.S. Steel had managed to secure a critical
AK Steel had not been able to reach an accord with the
United Steelworkers of America union, which threatened a
strike at National Steel plants if the bankrupt company
accepted AK Steel's bid for its assets.
The poor environment for steel companies in the United
States -- including a surge in healthcare and pension costs --
has pushed more than 30 domestic steelmakers into bankruptcy
since 1997, leading to a wave of consolidation within the
Shares of AK Steel closed at $3.89 on the New York Stock
Exchange on Thursday.