U.S. Steel's stock price has been riding high since the presidential election on the expectation of more tariffs, but the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker is still losing money.
The steelmaker reported a loss of $180 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, in the first quarter. U.S. Steel Chief Executive Officer Mario Longhi blamed operational programs at flat-rolled facilities.
The loss over the last three months also included a $35 million write-down that followed the shutdown of tubular facilities. U.S. Steel's quarterly loss widened from $103 million during the fourth quarter but improved significantly from the $340 million the company lost in the first quarter of 2016.
"While our segment results improved by over $200 million compared with the first quarter of 2016, operating challenges at our Flat-Rolled facilities prevented us from benefiting fully from improved market conditions. However, we continue to be encouraged by the strength of our European business, and we are also seeing improving energy markets," Longhi said.
"Overall, improved commercial conditions more than offset higher raw materials and energy costs and increased maintenance and outage spending driven by our asset revitalization efforts."
U.S. Steel's flat-rolled division, which includes Gary Works, East Chicago Tin and the Midwest Plant in Portage, lost $90 million in the fi
rst quarter, down from $188 million during the same period in 2016. The Midwest plant's spill and idling took place in April, after the financial reporting period.
"The execution of our asset revitalization program and the continued implementation of reliability-centered maintenance practices are critical to achieving sustainable improvements in our operating performance and costs," Longhi said.
"We have built the financial strength and resources to move forward more aggressively on these initiatives, and remain focused on providing the service and solutions that will create value for our stockholders, customers, employees, and other stakeholders."