Bethlehem adds to loss with $25 million charge

July 15, 1992

Bethlehem Steel Corp., which operates the Sparrows Point mill in Baltimore County, reported yesterday that it would add dTC $25 million to its second-quarter loss because of an unfavorable court ruling in a Kentucky legal battle over mineral rights.

The extra charge boosts the steel company's total loss for the second quarter to $64 million from $39 million. The company lost $45 million in the second quarter of 1991.

Bethlehem released the partial earnings information because of the special charge and said complete results for the second quarter and first six months would be released July 29.

The court case stems from a dispute over whether Bethlehem had title to coal it mined in eastern Kentucky.

In February 1987, a Kentucky court ruled against Bethlehem andawarded the plaintiffs, Church and Mullins, $16.9 million, Bethlehem spokesman Henry Von Sprecklesen said.

On appeal, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled in Bethlehem's favor in June 1990, but the Supreme Court of Kentucky voted 4-3 for the plaintiffs June 4 and awarded damages of $28 million.

Bethlehem said the decision was wrong and asked the Kentucky Supreme Court June 24 to reconsider its decision.

In a press release, the company also said it expected a moderate improvement in steel demand for the rest of the year and estimated that industry shipments would increase to about 81 million tons this year, compared with 79 million tons last year.

Bethlehem said it foresees its prices rising later this year and next year if the economy improves.

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