West Chester-based steel maker, AK Steel posts $306.3 million loss in first quarter

29 April 2015

AK Steel posted a $306.3 million loss in its first quarter.

The West Chester-based steel maker on Tuesday morning reported the loss of $1.44 per share, which was higher than expected because it reduced the value of a joint venture on its books by $256.3 million. That was taken as a non-cash impairment charge related to the company’s 49.9 percent equity interest in Magnetation, which produces iron ore pellets.

It compares to an $86.1 million loss, or 63 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2014.

Excluding that one-time charge, AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) reported a loss of $50 million, or 28 cents per share for the first quarter, which hit the adjusted earnings guidance target it announced in March.

AK Steel is one of the largest local companies — and also one of the few public companies in the region — so its financial health carries a big economic impact here. It has about 2,400 local employees and posted $6.5 billion in revenue in 2014.

The company also reported $1.75 billion in sales for the first quarter, on shipments on more than 1.7 million tons, compared to $1.38 billion on less than 1.3 million tons for the same period in 2014.

“Shipments and selling prices in the carbon steel spot market were significantly impacted during the first quarter by the tidal wave of what we believe were unfairly traded foreign steel imports,” said James Wainscott, chairman, president and CEO of AK Steel.

However, he said the company did see strong sales in automotive markets during the period.

AK Steel recently said it would build a new $36 million research and innovation center in Middletown.