CLEVELAND, Nov. 4, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Olympic Steel, Inc., (Nasdaq:ZEUS), a national steel service center, today announced its financial results for the third quarter and first nine months ended September 30, 2010. Net sales for the third quarter of 2010 totaled $209.2 million, a 72% increase from the $121.6 million for the third quarter of 2009. Tons sold in the third quarter of 2010 increased 32.5% to 240 thousand from 181 thousand in the third quarter of 2009. Third quarter 2010 net loss totaled $1.2 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to net income of $0.7 million, or $0.06 per diluted share for last year's third quarter. Third quarter 2010 results included a $2.1 million pretax bad debt charge for a receivable considered uncollectible related to an unexpected closure of a customer in September 2010. Net sales for the first nine months of 2010 totaled $589.8 million, a 53.2% increase from the $384.9 million for the first nine months of 2009. Tons sold in the first nine months of 2010 increased 35.6% to 714 thousand from 527 thousand in the first nine months of 2009. Net income for the first nine months 2010 totaled $3.7 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $58.6 million, or $5.39 per diluted share for last year's comparable period. The 2009 results included $81.1 million of lower of cost or market pretax charges to write down the value of inventory as of March 31 and June 30, 2009. Commenting on the results, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Siegal stated, "While we are pleased with the continued growth in our tons sold and sales in the third quarter, and our ability to be profitable prior to incurring the unexpected bad debt cost, the market proved to be highly competitive and is likely to remain so in the near term. Our shipments in the first nine months of 2010 increased year over year by 35.6%, which is significantly greater than the market increase in total steel shipments of 19.8%, as reported in the Metals Service Center Institute's Market Activity Report. Our balance sheet remains exceptionally strong, and our new $125 million, five year, asset based loan facility, together with access to capital markets, provides Olympic Steel with a favorable capital structure to strategically grow our business."