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Second-Quarter Financial Report: Service Centers

Mixed Bag

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Sales up across the board in second quarter, but earnings results are mixed.

A.M. Castle
Castle posts net loss, slight bump in sales 

A.M. Castle & Co., Oak Brook, Ill., reported a net loss of $22.5 million for the second quarter of 2017, compared with losses of $21.3 million for the year-ago period. These losses include $11.2 million for financial restructuring and reorganization expenses and a $10.1 million interest expense.

Net sales totaled $136.5 million this quarter, a 0.4 percent increase over the first quarter and a year-over-year increase of 4.4 percent. 

“While navigating the financial restructuring process during the entire quarter, including the filing of the chapter 11 petitions in June, the company was still able to generate positive adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations,” President and CEO Steve Scheinkman said. “Even after taking into account the negative effect of the financial restructuring process and realized currency losses, the company was still able to achieve positive adjusted EBITDA of $120,000, a year-over-year improvement of $3.5 million.”

Tons sold per day rose 10.9 percent, compared with the same time last year, but the company noted that a 4.5 percent decrease in average selling prices and an unfavorable change in product mix offset this increase in sales volume.

Global Brass and Copper
GBC sees improved financials, despite volume decrease

Global Brass and Copper Holdings Inc., Schaumburg, Ill., reported net income of $16.1 million for its second quarter, compared with $8.4 million a year ago. The 91.7 percent increase over the prior year was due to a temporary production outage at Olin Brass in the second quarter of 2016 and receipt of insurance proceeds related to the outage, according to GBC.

Net sales for the quarter totaled $377.4 million, compared with $337.9 million for the same quarter in 2016. The company attributed the 11.6 percent increase in net sales to higher pass-through metal prices and increased total metal sales.

Lower demand in the coinage, building and housing, and munitions markets caused overall volume to decrease by 4.2 percent in the quarter to 126.2 million pounds, compared with last year. These decreases were partially offset by increased volumes to reel rollers. 

“Overall through the quarter, our business reacted very well to the volume challenges, and we believe we have maintained our customer share, suggesting that decreased volumes are the result of overall demand rather than our value proposition to our customers,” President and CEO John Wasz said, adding that the company continues to create value with focused initiatives targeting supply chain, productivity and margin management.

Global Brass and Copper’s Olin Brass business segment accounted for $181.5 million of total second-quarter sales, compared with $155 million the year prior, shipping 63.4 million pounds during the period. 

The company’s other segments, Chase Brass and A.J. Oster, saw total pounds shipped dip slightly in the second quarter. Chase Brass reported net sales of $141 million on 54.5 million pounds shipped, while A.J. Oster collected $75 million on 18.9 million pounds.

Olympic Steel
Olympic Enjoys 35 Percent Income Growth in Second Quarter

Olympic Steel Inc., Cleveland, reported $4.8 million in net income for the second quarter, compared with $3.6 million for the same period last year. Net sales totaled $356.2 million during the quarter, a 30 percent increase over the second quarter of 2016. The company credited higher year-over-year shipping volume and higher average selling prices for the jump in sales.

“Demand for our products has been steadily improving since late last year,” Chairman and CEO Michael Siegal said. “With increased customer demand, we continue to outpace the overall market and have increased our market share.”

In 2017, each of Olympic’s three business segments set all-time highs in market share, according to the company. The carbon flat products segment reported 308,458 tons sold and net sales of $237.1 million in the second quarter, increases of 13.2 percent and 36.9 percent, respectively, compared with last year.

Olympic’s specialty metals flat products segment shipped 22,539 tons and accounted for $58.3 million in net sales during the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 17.7 percent. Lastly, the tubular and pipe products segment reported net sales of $60.9 million for the quarter, up from $51 million in the second quarter of 2016.

The company also reported improved inventory management and accelerated inventory turnover, despite carrying higher levels of inventory in receivables necessary to support growing demand and a larger market share. Inventory turnover improved to 4.8 turns in the quarter, compared with 4.6 turns in the first quarter of 2017.

“To support growing market demand, we have an exceptionally strong balance sheet and plenty of borrowing capacity, allowing us to quickly respond to changes in market conditions,” Siegal said. “ 

Russel Metals
Russel Earns $25.6 million

Russel Metals, Mississauga, Ontario, reported net income of $25.6 million in its second quarter, a 98.2 percent increase over the year-ago period. Russel saw $642.5 million in net sales in the quarter, compared with $490.8 million at the same time last year. 

Of this, Russel’s metals service centers segment accounted for $327.4 million. The 14 percent revenue increase over the second quarter of 2016 was due to stronger average selling prices, according to the company. The selling price in the second quarter was up 15 percent from the same time last year and 5 percent from the first quarter of 2017.

“We are pleased with our year-to-date performance, with all of our operations reporting improved results,” President and Chief Operating Officer John Reid said. “Our energy products operations rebounded considerably, resulting in our strongest year-over-year segment improvement. We expect demand in the energy products segment to improve in the seasonally stronger third quarter.” 

Revenues in the company’s energy products segment jumped 68 percent in the second quarter to $232.9 million. Higher revenues were the result of increased demand, improved selling prices and the early lifting of spring road bans in Alberta.

The steel distributors segment reported sales of $79.5 million in the second quarter, a 25 percent increase from last year. The company said higher prices and increased shipment volumes led to the bump in sales.

Ryerson Grows Sales in Second Quarter
Ryerson, Chicago, reported net income of $800,000 in its second quarter, a decrease of 85.2 percent from the same quarter in 2016. Net sales for the quarter totaled $875.4 million, compared with $739.8 million for the year-ago period. 

The 18.3 percent increase in sales came despite “conflicting and volatile factors” affecting the industry, according to the company. Conditions such as significantly higher steel import levels and falling nickel and carbon prices impacted Ryerson’s pricing power, which resulted in margin compression.

“Despite the noted margin compression and muted pricing power relative to rising purchase metal costs during the quarter, Ryerson grew market share, demonstrated expense leverage and maintained supply chain acuity, managing our days of supply below 70 days for the second consecutive quarter,” Ryerson President and CEO Eddie Lehner said.

A 4.2 percent increase in tons sold over the first quarter and a 3.1 percent increase for the average selling prices per ton helped drive quarterly revenue. For the quarter, Ryerson shipped 390,000 tons of carbon steel, 74,000 tons of stainless steel and 52,000 tons of aluminum. The average selling price per ton was up 15.4 percent year over year.

Additionally, the Section 232 investigations have heightened price volatility and import concerns in the quarter, but Lehner says they’ve had a positive effect on the industry, overall. “Section 232 headlines have also brought needed scrutiny and attention worldwide to the conflated hypocrisies and breakages in the current global trading system pertaining to industrial metals,” he added.