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Nucor Scores Record Q2 Profits

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A strong market and improved economy are being credited for Nucor’s record second-quarter profits. The Charlotte, N.C.-based minimill reported net earnings of $683.2 million in the quarter, which is more than double what the company earned in the second quarter of 2017.

Through six months, Nucor reported net earnings of $1.04 billion, compared with $679.9 million in the first half of last year.

Meanwhile, net sales in the second quarter increased 25 percent year over year to $6.50 billion, pushing the year-to-date figure up 20 percent over last year’s first-half sales.

Nucor's chairman, CEO and president John Ferriola said the record earnings reflect the company’s ability to position itself in recent years to take advantage of the current upturn in the steel market. 

"We have increased our workforce by 18 percent and invested $8 billion since the last cyclical peak in 2008,” Ferriola said in the company’s second-quarter earnings release. “Now, against the backdrop of a strong market and economy, we are capitalizing on those investments to move up the value chain and profitably grow our company. Our financial performance over the last six quarters demonstrates our continued operational excellence and the success of our long-term strategy.” 

In the second quarter, the average sales price per ton of steel increased 17 percent over last year and total tons shipped to outside customers increased 7 percent.

Nucor also reported total steel mill shipments in the second quarter increased 6 percent year over year, while downstream steel products shipments jumped 17 percent.

Overall operating rates at Nucor steel mills increased to 95 percent in the second, compared with 89 percent in the year-ago period, the company reported. Additionally, Nucor said its total steel mill energy costs decreased approximately $1 per ton from last year primarily due to lower natural gas unit costs and higher productivity resulting from increased steel production.

In the third quarter, Nucor executives said they expect the steel mills segment to remain strong, with margin expansion expected primarily at the company’s sheet and plate mills. 

“Based on the current steel market fundamentals and communications with our customers, we believe there is sustainable strength in steel end-use markets,” company officials said. “We expect third quarter of 2018 performance of our steel products segment to be similar to the second quarter of 2018. The performance of our raw materials segment is expected to decrease in the third quarter of 2018 as compared to the second quarter of 2018 due to margin compression.”

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