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Reliance Reports Record Sales in First Quarter

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Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co., Los Angeles, reported a record $2.76 billion in sales in the first quarter, a 14 percent increase from last year and up 16 percent from the fourth quarter. The company’s shipments totaled a record 1.6 million tons, a 3.6 percent increase from first-quarter 2017 and up 10 percent from the prior quarter. 

The company’s net income in the quarter totaled $169 million, a 51.2 percent increase over the same quarter last year, but down significantly from the $301.4 million in the fourth quarter. The prior quarter benefited from a one-time income tax benefit as a result of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

“The positive pricing and demand fundamentals experienced in the fourth quarter continued through the first quarter, with pricing momentum building throughout the quarter.  This resulted in record quarterly sales of $2.76 billion, driven by higher selling prices and record volume of 1.6 million tons sold,” said Gregg Mollins, Reliance president and CEO. “If not for the benefit from tax reform in the fourth quarter of 2017, our earnings per diluted share of $2.30 in the first quarter of 2018 would have been our highest on record.”

The company experienced a 5.6 percent increase in average selling price compared with the fourth quarter. “Strong demand, along with anticipated Section 232 actions, drove higher metal pricing on nearly every product we sell. We experienced a limited amount of pre-buying activity from certain of our customers as a result of the rapid price increases throughout the quarter and concern about metal availability.”

The pre-buying, coupled with improved demand and the normal seasonal increase in shipping volume during the first quarter, drove a 10 percent increase in tons sold compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, exceeding the high-end of the company’s expected range by 2 percent. 

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