Smaller fourth-quarter loss for U.S. Steel

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U.S. Steel today reported a narrower fourth-quarter loss but a wider loss for all of 2012, weighed down by the sale of its unprofitable Serbian operations last January.

The Pittsburgh steelmaker reported a fourth-quarter loss of $50 million, or 35 cents per share versus a loss of $211 million, or $1.46 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Sales fell 7 percent to $4.5 billion while shipments slid 3 percent to 5.2 million tons.

The results included a gain of $9 million, or 6 cents per share, from the settlement of a contract dispute with a supplier.

Analysts had expected a fourth-quarter loss of 75 cents per share on sales of $4.3 billion.

For all of 2012, U.S. Steel lost $124 million, or 86 cents per share, versus a 2011 loss of $53 million, or 37 cents per share.

Sales fell 3 percent to $19.3 billion on a 3 percent drop in shipments.

The full year results reflect a $399 million loss on the sale of its Serbian mills in January 2012.

In a statement, chairman and CEO John P. Surma said the company's mills were profitable on an operating basis -- before retirement expenses, taxes and others costs -- for the third consecutive quarter despite uncertain global economic conditions, fiscal problems in Washington, and competition from imports.

U.S. Steel reported an operating profit of $11 million per ton in the fourth quarter, down from $32 per ton in the third quarter but better than a $5 per ton loss in 2011's fourth quarter.

Mr. Surma said first-quarter results will be comparable to those in the fourth quarter.

The results were announced before Wall Street opened. U.S. Steel shares closed Monday at $23.72, down 81 cents.

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Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941.


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