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Olympic Posts Modest Loss in 2016

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Olympic Steel, Inc., reported a net loss of $1.1 million in 2016, an improvement on the $26.8 million loss posted in 2015. Full-year sales for the Cleveland-based service center company totaled nearly $1.1 billion, a 10.2 percent decline from the prior year.

The company sold 1.0 million tons of carbon steel in 2016, a decline of 1.0 percent, while its sales of specialty metals flat products increased 14.1 percent to 82,285 tons.

"Despite another challenging year, we observed a definitive market swing during the fourth quarter," said Chairman and CEO Michael D. Siegal. "Our commitment to customer performance earned us record market share during 2016, per MSCI data. At the same time, our emphasis on continuous improvement led to reducing operating expenses by 3 percent.”

In the fourth quarter, Olympic’s net loss totaled $2.1 million, compared with a loss of $5.0 million in the same period the previous year. Fourth-quarter sales increased 7.3 percent to $254.9 million, compared with the same quarter in 2015. Carbon flat shipments increased 6.7 percent to 244,938 tons, while specialty metal shipments of 19,012 tons were up 15.1 percent.

The fourth quarter was uneven for the company, with October results at very low levels before activity rebounded in December. Olympic executives were enthusiastic about the strengthening steel prices exiting 2016 and into the early months of 2017, as well as the increased activity levels. “While it is still early, shipping volumes throughout our organization are signaling substantial growth,” said David Wolfort, Olympic president.

“Demand has improved in most industries we serve. Spot sales are particularly strong, inventories remain lean in the supply chain and distributors are restocking in anticipation of historically stronger spring shipments,” said Siegal. “Stable raw material prices and lower levels of imported steels continue to support higher prices in the first quarter.”