U.S. Steel Boosts First-Quarter Profit Outlook on Price Rise

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U.S. Steel Corp. provided bullish new first-quarter guidance, saying it expects earnings to improve amid “strong market conditions.”

The Pittsburgh-based company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization probably will be about $540 million, higher than the $522.1 million average estimate among analysts. Friday’s announcement was followed by a second statement on Sunday that changed the forecast adjusted earnings per share to $1.02 from 61 cents.

“Strong market conditions and our well-timed acquisition of Big River Steel are allowing us to drive significant earnings growth,” Chief Executive Officer David Burritt said in the statement.

The ebitda outlook excludes impacts from rolling up the rest of Big River Steel, according to the statement. U.S. Steel said the flat-rolled steel segment will generate “significantly” higher ebitda compared with the fourth quarter as higher steel prices flow through to customers. The company also said the restart of the #4 blast furnace at Gary Works improved operating efficiency.

As for Sunday’s revision to adjusted earnings-per-share, “there was just a small error in it and we wanted to correct it before Monday’s market open,” spokeswoman Meghan Cox said.

Shares closed at $24.17 in New York Friday. Earnings are expected to shrink across the steel industry later this year, and U.S. Steel, which has led a recent surge among producers of the metal, may be especially vulnerable, analysts say.

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