Third-quarter financials are in, and Nucor’s strong performance has the company on pace for a record-setting year.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker reported net earnings of $676.7 million in the quarter, compared with $254.9 million in the year-ago period. Through nine months, Nucor’s earnings totaled 1.7 billion, compared with $934.8 million in 2017.
"The strong financial performance we have had this year continued into the third quarter, and we are on pace for 2018 to be a record year for earnings," said John Ferriola, Nucor's chairman, CEO and president.
Net sales in the quarter increased 30.4 percent year over year to $6.7 billion, while year-to-date net sales jumped 23.8 percent to $18.8 billion. Average sales price per ton increased 23 percent from the third quarter of 2017.
"Our financial results are evidence that Nucor was primed and ready for this long-awaited upturn in the steel market,” Ferriola said. “Our strategic initiatives, including capital projects, acquisitions and enhanced customer engagement, as well as our active participation in industry trade actions, have solidified our industry leading performance. Our extensive investments have grown our peak earnings power and enhanced our many competitive strengths."
Earnings for Nucor’s steel mills segment more than doubled in the third quarter to $1.1 billion, while steel products earnings grew 59.6 percent year over year to $138.7 million.
Total tons shipped to outside customers in the third quarter were 7 million tons, a 6 percent increase from the year-ago period. Total steel mill shipments in the quarter increased 7 percent year over year, while downstream steel products shipments to outside customers increased 6 percent in that time.
Nucor’s overall operating rate was 92 percent in the third quarter, compared with 84 percent last year. Through September, the steelmaker’s operating rate increased to 93 percent, versus 87 percent through the first nine months of 2017.
In the fourth quarter, the company said it expects earnings in all three operating segments to decrease from the third quarter due to “typical seasonality” but still anticipates earnings higher than fourth-quarter 2017.
“We continue to believe there is sustainable strength in steel end use markets,” Ferriola said.