Bethlehem Steel's loss no surprise to investors

July 30, 1992|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

Bethlehem Steel Corp. released its second-quarter earnings report yesterday, and there were no surprises for investors.

The steelmaker posted a quarterly loss of nearly $64 million on sales of $1 billion, in line with its forecast two weeks ago. At that time, Bethlehem said it would take a $25 million second-quarter charge because of an unfavorable ruling in a Kentucky court battle over mineral rights.

Bethlehem's basic steel operations division, which includes its Sparrows Point mill in Baltimore County, accounted for most of the company's loss. The division lost $44 million on operations for the quarter and $67 million for the first half of 1992, including the $25 million litigation charge.

The Sparrows Point mill is one of five operated by the company and accounts for about 40 percent of its steel output.

Bethlehem released the partial earnings information two weeks ago because of the special charge, which came as the company was in the midst of a new public offering of 10 million shares of common stock. The settlement stems from a dispute over Bethlehem's title claim to coal it mined in eastern Kentucky.

Steel shipments were 2 percent higher in the quarter than in the same period last year and would have been higher, the company said, "except for unfairly traded imported steel."

Another local operation, the BethShip division, posted improved results during the quarter as work proceeded on a tunnel-fabrication contract.

Looking ahead, Bethlehem Chairman Walter F. Williams said he expects a moderate improvement in steel shipments during 1992.

He said the company expects another loss during the third quarter but that an improvement in the economy, higher demand and effective remedies to deal with unfairly traded steel imports should boost earnings later this year or next year.

Three months ended 6/30/92

... ... ... ...Revenue... ... ... ... ... Net... ... ... ... Share

'92... 1,014,300,000... ... .. (63,900,000)... ... ... . (0.92)

'91... 1,115,000,000... ... .. (29,100,000)... ... ... . (0.46)

% change... ... ..-9.0... ... ... ... ... .--... ... ... ... .. --

Six months ended 6/30/92

... ... ... ...Revenue... ... ... ... ... Net... ... ... ... Share

'92... 2,009,700,000... ... ..(108,500,000)... ... ... . (1.58)

.2,170,600,000... ... ..(68,300,000)... ... ... . (1.06)

change... ... ..-7.4... ... ... ... ... .--... ... ... ... .. --

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