Bethlehem Steel Corp., which owns the Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore County, lost $60.6 million, or 88 cents a share, during the third quarter compared to a profit of $10.1 million, or 5 cents a share, during the 1990 third quarter.
Net sales were $1.1 billion, down 7 percent from 1990 third-quarter revenues of $1.2 billion.
The company blamed the loss on falling steel prices and increased operating costs. There were also higher than usual costs associated with construction work and the start-up of the modernized hot strip mill at Sparrows Point and a blast furnace at its plant in Burns Harbor, Ind.
For the first nine months, the company lost $128.9 million, or $1.94 a share, compared to a net income of $53.3 million, or 46 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Net sales during the nine months were $3.3 billion, down 11 percent from revenues of $3.7 billion during the same period of 1990.
In his analysis of the earnings, Bethlehem chairman Walter F. Williams said overall demand appears to be on a modest uptrend. "We expect that Bethlehem's steel shipments will be slightly higher in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter," he said
While Williams said the basics for a moderate recovery are in place, "we are concerned about the potential for a stall that could occur if there is no further easing of credit and improvement in consumer and business confidence." Bethlehem today also announced a 10-cent per share dividend on its common stock, payable Dec. 10 to shareholders of record on Nov. 12.