Thinner margins squeeze Steel Dynamics profit

Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics Inc. said Monday that its third-quarter profit fell nearly 73 percent as the declining selling price of steel squeezed margins.

The nation's fifth-largest steelmaker reported profit of $19 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with $69 million, or 30 cents per share, in the same period last year. Despite the decline, profit was in line with analysts’ estimates of 9 cents per share.

Companywide, third-quarter revenue hit $1.2 billion, an increase of 35 percent over the third quarter of 2009, but 3-percent lower than the second quarter of 2010.

“While third-quarter steel volume remained relatively flat, the decline in steel selling prices, mainly steel sheet, outpaced the decline in scrap prices,” Steel Dynamics Chairman and CEO Keith Busse said in a prepared statement.

The company’s average selling price per ton fell $47 in the third quarter, to $782. As a result, operating income in steel operations fell 52 percent, to $88 million.

Profit in Steel Dynamics' subsidiary OmniSource's metal recycling unit declined nearly 14 percent, to $22 million.

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