Bethlehem Steel's earnings jumped 76% in 3rd quarter Increased shipments, cost reductions cited


October 30, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Bethlehem Steel Corp. said third-quarter profit rose 76 percent, more than analysts expected, as its main steel unit cut costs and boosted shipments, offsetting a wider loss from secondary businesses -- including the recently sold Sparrows Point shipyard.

Profit from operations rose to $40.6 million, or 27 cents a share, from $23 million, or 12 cents, in the year-earlier period. Per-share results in both periods reflect payment of preferred dividends. Revenue fell 5.2 percent to $1.11 billion from $1.17 billion.

The Bethlehem, Pa.-based steelmaker had been expected to earn 23 cents a share, the average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by IBES International Inc.

The company said its main steel unit doubled its operating profit to $66 million, mainly because of cost-savings from the shutdown of its structural steel business earlier this year. The company's continuing operations also boosted shipments, though the structural steel shutdown resulted in lower total shipments of 2.18 million tons, compared with 2.20 million tons a year ago.

Its secondary businesses -- BethShip Inc., a forging unit and a cast-iron roll unit -- had an operating loss of $8 million, compared with $7 million a year ago, amid declining prices for iron ore.

Bethlehem completed the sales of the businesses during the quarter to focus on steelmaking. The company also sold its West Virginia coal mine, which was affected by lower coal prices.

In the year-ago period, the company took a charge of $12 million, or 12 cents a share, to close the structural steel business, resulting in net income of $11.0 million, or break-even on a per-share basis.

No special items were reported in the recent quarter.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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