AK Steel Holding Corporation ( AKS)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

January 25, 2011, 11:00 am ET

Executives

James Wainscot - Chairman, President and CEO

Albert Ferrara, Jr - SVP of Finance and CFO

Analysts

John Felham - Citi

Luke Folta - Longbow Research

Michael Gambardella - JPMorgan

Charles Bradford - Bradford Research

Michelle Applebaum - SMI

Mark Parr - KeyBanc Capital Markets

Evan Kurtz - Morgan Stanley

Sal Tharani - Goldman Sachs

Dave Katz - JPMorgan

Justin Fisher - Goldman Sachs

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to AK Steel’s fourth quarter and full year 2010 earnings conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator instructions) As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

With us today are Mr. James L. Wainscott, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AK Steel; and Mr. Albert E. Ferrara, Jr., Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

At this time, I will turn the conference call over to Mr. Ferrara. Please go ahead, sir.

Albert Ferrara , Jr

Thank you, Patty, and good morning, everyone. In a moment, I’ll review our fourth quarter and full year financial results as well as provide some guidance for the first quarter and full year of 2011. Following my remarks, Jim will offer his comments and field your questions.

Our comments today will include forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Included among those forward-looking statements will be any comments concerning our expectations as to future shipments, product mix, prices, costs, operating profit and liquidity.

Please note that our actual results may differ materially from what is contained in the forward-looking statements provided during this call. Information concerning factors that could cause such material differences and results is contained in our earnings release issued earlier today.

Except as required by law, the Company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect future developments or events.

To the extent that we refer to material information that includes non-GAAP financial measures, the reconciliation information required by Regulation G is available on the Company’s Web site, at aksteeel.com.

Earlier today, AK Steel reported a net loss of $98.3 million or $0.89 per share for the fourth quarter of 2010. As previously announced our results include the impact of costs associated with the shutdown of our Ashland works coke plant along with costs related to a settlement agreement involving healthcare benefits for retirees from our Butler Works.

These pretax charges totaling $72.8 million includes $63.7 million for the Asland coke plant shutdown and $9.1 million for the Butler Works retiree settlement. Excluding the special charges AK Steel would have reported a net loss of $54.5 million or $0.49 per share.

This compared favorably to the first call consensus estimate of a loss of $0.62 per share. Our results were also impacted by unprecedented high cost for iron ore and other raw materials. In addition, our results included a less than expected LIFO surcharge of $9.3 million, due to a significant reduction in our year-end inventory levels resulting from increased shipments and strong management of our working capital.

Also, we are pleased that for the second consecutive year there were [order] charges related to the company’s retiree benefit plans.

Shipments for the fourth quarter of 2010 totaled 1.359,900 tons about 10,000 tons ahead of our guidance. Our average selling price declined to $1022 per ton from $1075 per ton in the third quarter of 2010, which was approximately 1% worse than we had anticipated.

Revenues totaled $1.391 billion, an increase of about 5% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Sales outside the U.S. continue to an important source of revenue for us, totaling approximately $190 million.

On an operating basis, we incurred and adjusted loss of $81.8 million or $60 per ton about $20 per ton better than our guidance.

Turning now to our full year results; shipments for 2010 totaled were 5.7 million tons and increase of more than 1.7 million tons or 44% compared to 2009. Revenues totaled $6 billion, a nearly 50% increase from 2009 revenues of approximately $4 billion.

Our average selling price was $1054 per ton about 2% higher than for 2009 and sales outside the U.S. totaled $823 million for 2010, an increase of $56 million or 7% compared to 2009.

Our adjusted operating loss of $61.1 million or $11 per ton for 2010 compares to an operating loss of $70.1 million or $18 per ton for 2009. Excluding a non-cash charge of $25.3 million in the first quarter of 2010 related to [indiscernible] or $59.8 million for the year 2010 or $0.54 per diluted share. That compares to a net loss of $74.6 million or $0.68 per diluted share for year 2009 and the 2009 results included $5.1 million charge related to a state tax law change.

Now turning to the balance sheet. During the fourth quarter we completed $150 million add on offering to our previously issued $400 million of senior notes. Also we generated a significant amount of working capital during the fourth quarter by strongly focusing on such items as mentioned in our inventory.

We ended the year with a cash balance of $217 million and combined with nearly $700 million of availability under our revolving credit facility, AK Steels total liquidity exceeded $900 million as of December 31st.

Our ongoing focus on the balance sheet allowed us to maintain a strong financial position even while reinvesting in the company. Capital investments for 2010 totaled $117 million, the majority of which went toward constructing a new electric arc furnace at our Butler Pennsylvania Works. The new EAF is on schedule to begin operations next months. We also contributed to our pension fund in the calendar year 2010; we contributed a total of $110 million to the pension plan.

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