Olympic Steel, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZEUS), a leading national metals service center, today announced financial results for the third quarter and nine-months ended Sept. 30, 2016. Third-quarter net sales were $268.3 million, compared with $276.9 million in 2015's same quarter. Net sales during the 2016 nine-month period totaled $800.2 million, versus $938.0 million during the same period of the prior year. Average selling prices were lower in both 2016 periods and lower sales volumes of carbon flat products were partially offset by higher sales volume of specialty metals flat products. Consolidated gross margin expanded to 21.3% of sales during the quarter, compared with 21.2% of sales in the third quarter of 2015. Gross margin in the current-year was negatively impacted by a non-recurring $1.7 million arbitration decision, accrued in September, related to a 2015 foreign steel purchase. This more than offset $0.7 million of LIFO income recorded in the third quarter. For the nine-month period, gross margin improved to 23.0% of sales, compared with 19.6% in the comparable period last year. Year-to-date, LIFO income was $0.7 million in 2016, compared with LIFO income of $1.7 million recorded in the 2015 nine-month period. Operating income was breakeven in the third quarter, compared with $0.5 million in last year's third quarter. Year-to-date operating income improved to $8.4 million in 2016, compared with the operating loss of $20.6 million reported in the same period of 2015. Last year's nine-months results included impairment charges totaling $24.5 million. "The commercial discipline exhibited by domestic steel producers this year is encouraging. Higher prices for steel making raw materials, such as iron ore and coking coal, suggest price increases announced by the mills in October may hold," said Michael D. Siegal, Olympic Steel Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Looking ahead, our customers' inventory levels remain lean, suggesting order patterns should normalize if average prices begin to rebound."