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Dan DiMiccoThank you, Christie. Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us for Nucor ’s second quarter conference call. As always, we appreciate your interest in Nucor. With me for today ’s call are the other members of Nucor ’s senior management team, Chief Financial Officer, Jim Frias; Chief Operating Officer of our Steel making Operations, John Ferriola; and Executive Vice Presidents, Keith Grass; Ladd Hall; Ham Lott; Mike Parrish and Joe Stratman. Also joining us is Jim Darsey who will be succeeding Mike Parrish as Executive Vice President of Bar Products when Mike retires at the end of August. After reviewing our second quarter results and our work growing Nucor ’s long-term profitability, we will take your questions. First, and most importantly, I want to thank everyone in our team at Nucor and at our Harris Steel and David J. Joseph operations for working safely and working together. While economic conditions remain extremely challenging, your talents and can-do attitude are getting the job done, so that Nucor continues our long history of emerging from downturn stronger than we entered them. Thank you again and keep up the good work and stay safe. Our second quarter earnings of $0.29 per share increased 190% over the first quarter earnings of $0.10 per share. They also improved significantly from the year ago quarter ’s loss of $0.43 per share or positive swing of $0.72 per share year-over-year. Improvement in operating results, excluding LIFO was even stronger. Second quarter of 2010 results included a LIFO charge of $67 million that compares to a first quarter LIFO charge of $24 million and second quarter of 2009 LIFO credit of $125 million. It is also worth noting that our second quarter guidance of a range between $0.20 to $0.25 per share, assumed a LIFO charge of only $47 million versus the $67 million actually incurred. The profit improvement was driven primarily by expanding metal margins of our steel mills. Operating rates at the steel mills in the second quarter were essentially unchanged from the first quarter overall. Higher utilization rates at the beam and plate mills are offset by lower range at the sheet mills and somewhat at the bar mills.
As expected, our downstream businesses continue to be impacted by severely depressed non-residential construction markets. While markets appear to have bottomed, the recovery appears to be slow. The Nucor team is doing a lot more above and beyond the hard work of managing through today ’s harsh economic environment.Strength of our business model and our culture enables us to use downturns as opportunities, opportunities to grow Nucor ’s long-term earnings power. We ’re doing that by investing in our people, and investing in our operations, and investing in our growth. This focus on the long-term is how our company builds real and sustainable value for our shareholders, teammates and the people who buy and use our products. Our investments have been built from the growth platforms, we have established in steel making, upstream raw materials, downstream value-added products and internationally. The list of the initiatives currently underway are many that tells the story of profitable growth ahead for Nucor. In steel making, the Memphis SBQ mill, the Decatur Alabama galvanize facility, the Castrip plant in Arkansas, the heat treat facility in North Carolina at our plate mill, and the Arizona wire rod and coil rebar mill. In raw materials, a team at David J. Joseph Company to expand in this scrap processing platform in the strategically important markets through both acquisition and greenfield opportunities. And our proposed pig iron project received its air permit in May from the State of Louisiana. In downstream steel products, our Harris Steel team continues to make bolt-on acquisitions to fill out their rebar fabrication platform. And our joist, deck and metal building businesses are growing their market shares as competitors retrench, and in some cases abandon the marketplace. International, Duferdofin-Nucor long products joint venture in Italy has begun production this year as new merchant bar and rebar mill in Sicily. In April, we consummated our NuMit joint venture with Mitsui. It is already off to a great start exceeding the original expectations. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com