Revenues Reflect Weak Selling Prices In their latest quarterly reports to analysts and investors, publicly held service centers claim performance gains despite weak metals prices. Compiled By the Staff of Metal Center News A.M. Castle & Co. Castle Sees Improvement in Financial Performance A.M. Castle & Co., Oak Brook, Ill., reported a net loss of $21.3 million in the second quarter, an improvement on the loss of $46.3 million in second-quarter 2015. Its sales of $130.7 million declined 21.4 percent compared with second-quarter 2015 largely due to a 6.4 percent decrease in tons sold per day, coupled with a 13.9 percent decrease in average selling prices. “The second quarter marked the completion of our strategic restructuring plan. The financial performance recorded in the second quarter demonstrates the emergence of a leaner, more focused A.M. Castle,” said President and CEO Steve Scheinkman. The company built momentum in key performance metrics, he said. Excluding tons sold by its Houston and Edmonton facilities, which the company closed in February 2016 to reduce its exposure to the volatile oil and gas market, Castle’s tons sold per day increased by 5 percent compared with the first quarter, well above the industry average improvement of less than 1 percent. “Even without improvement in market demand, we achieved growth in sales tons and gross material margins as a result of the aggressive organizational actions we have taken to restructure our branch network costs, better align our sales force with customers’ needs, increase our transactional business and improve our capital structure. We believe these results bode well for our ability to further improve our financial performance as market demand and pricing improves,” Scheinkman said. In other action, Castle has agreed to sell its 50 percent interest in Kreher Steel to its joint venture partner. Proceeds of about $31.6 million will be used to pay down debt. Global Brass and Copper GBC Reports Sales, Earnings Decline Global Brass and Copper Holdings, Inc., Schaumburg, Ill., reported second-quarter earnings of $8.4 million on sales of $337.9 million. Year-over-year, sales declined 18.6 percent and earnings 50.9 percent due primarily to decreased metals prices. GBC’s volume totaled 131.8 million pounds in the quarter, down slightly from second-quarter 2015, as a result of a production outage at its Olin Brass facility and decreased demand in the coinage, transportation, and industrial machinery and equipment markets. Offsetting those declines was increased demand from the building and housing sector. “Second-quarter results were impacted by the disruption to production activity at Olin Brass. Production capacity has been restored and our full-year guidance expectations remain unchanged, as much of the shortfall is expected to be recovered by year end. We are encouraged by another quarter of increased shipments of our green product portfolio at Chase Brass and continued strengthening of the building and housing market,” said John Wasz, GBC’s president and CEO. In the company’s full-year guidance, it expects shipments to range from 510 million to 545 million pounds and EBITDA to range from $115 million to $125 million. GBC products include a wide range of sheet, strip, foil, rod, tube and fabricated metal components sold under the Olin Brass, Chase Brass and A.J. Oster brand names. Olympic Steel Olympic Returns to Profitability in Second Quarter Olympic Steel, Cleveland, reported net income of $3.6 million in the second quarter, reversing a $22.3 million loss from the same quarter in 2015. The positive quarter was also an improvement on the modest loss posted in the first quarter. Through six months, Olympic Steel posted a net income of $2.7 million, compared with a loss of $21.0 million through the first half of 2015. Olympic’s second-quarter sales totaled $273.6 million, a 13.2 percent decline from the same quarter in 2015, but an increase of 5.9 percent from the prior quarter. First-half sales of $532.0 million were down 19.5 percent from first-half 2015. The company enjoyed higher sales volumes of specialty metals and pipe and tube during the quarter, resulting in record market share in those products. Those gains were offset by lower average selling prices, leading to the year-over-year revenue decline. “We continue to gain market share and improve profit margins despite weak industry-wide shipments,” said Michael D. Siegal, Olympic Steel chairman and CEO, during the company’s quarterly conference call. “In response to market conditions, we reduced operating expenses, accelerated inventory turnover and paid down debt. These actions, combined with rebounding metal prices, resulted in our return to profitability in the quarter. The pre-tax income of $7.0 million the company generated in the second quarter was the highest in more than three years.” Added Siegal: “Domestic steel production remains controlled and import volumes have come down from record highs, supporting higher prices. We will maintain our operating disciplines, and any improvement in demand will help future results.” Russel Metals Russel Matches 2015 Second-Quarter Earnings Russel Metals, Mississauga, Ontario, reported net income of $16.4 million in the second quarter, flat with the same period of 2015. For the year to date, Russel’s earnings of $24.2 million were 30.7 percent behind the previous year. Net sales in the quarter totaled $623.7 million, an 18.1 percent decline from the second quarter last year, and a small decline from the first quarter. Year-to-date net sales of $1.29 billion were 22.8 percent behind last year’s sales through six months. “In the second quarter, we experienced strong margin improvements in both our metals service centers and steel distributors due to increased prices. Although North American demand was down slightly, imports are down year over year, which supported improved pricing. Steel prices and demand for the balance of the year are expected to remain relatively flat,” said CEO Brian Hedges. Revenues of $364 million in Russel’s metals service centers segment were 6 percent lower than in second-quarter 2015 due to lower selling prices. Tons shipped were consistent with last year’s second quarter. Gross margins improved to 22.9 percent from 18.3 percent reflecting improved steel pricing. Second-quarter 2016 service center operating profits of $24 million were almost double the $13 million reported in the same quarter last year primarily due to margin improvement. Revenues in the steel distributors segment decreased by 23 percent to $81 million in the second quarter, reflecting lower demand. Gross margins improved to 18.5 percent from 11.0 percent, and operating profits increased 50 percent to $9 million, compared with second-quarter 2015. Offsetting the gains in the company’s service center and distribution businesses were continued weakness in the energy sector, with low oil and natural gas prices adversely affecting the energy products and Alberta service center operations. Second-quarter revenues in Russel’s energy products segment decreased 35 percent to $176 million compared with the 2015 second quarter. Gross margins decreased from 18.4 percent to 16.4 percent due to continued pricing pressure. “As predicted, our energy product results declined due to the low rig counts in North America and the seasonal slowdown in Canada. The market prices of pipe continued to deteriorate despite efforts of domestic producers to initiate price increases. There has been no meaningful increase in demand levels due to excess pipe in the distribution channel,” Hedges said. Ryerson Service Center Expands Margin, Market Share Chicago-based Ryerson reported revenues of $739.8 million in the second quarter, down 12 percent from the year-ago period due to a 14.9 percent decline in the average selling price per ton. Its net income of $5.6 million for the quarter was down from $15.6 million in second-quarter 2015. Ryerson shipped 3.5 percent more tons in the second quarter, which compares favorably to the industry average decline of 5.3 percent. Its gross margin hit 22 percent, up from 19.7 percent a year ago. “Our second-quarter results are a clear and continuing demonstration of the strength of our strategy and quality of our execution,” said Ryerson’s President and Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lehner. “We made significant improvements to our balance sheet while gaining market share, expanding margins, controlling costs and increasing inventory velocity.” For the first six months of the year, Ryerson’s revenues declined by 15.6 percent, to $1.4 billion, as a 2.0 percent increase in tons shipped was more than offset by a 17.2 percent decline in the average selling price. Ryerson’s net income for the first half totaled $19.1 million, up from $13.3 million for the same period of 2015.