U.S. Steel shares fell nearly 7 percent Tuesday after the company reported a $78 million second quarter loss Monday and said it expects similar results in the third quarter.
During a conference call with analysts and investors, the company provided few new details regarding an efficiency initiative chairman and CEO John P. Surma revealed in April.
When Mr. Surma announced the efficiency campaign, he described it as a way to attack "costs in a very focused and thoughtful way in order to achieve significant, sustainable cost savings."
On Tuesday's call, the executive in charge of the initiative said the effort, which has been dubbed Project Carnegie, "is much more than a cost cutting exercise."
"It is not a short-term cost-cutting effort. It requires everyone to think different, think big and accept change," president and chief operating officer Mario Longhi said.
Mr. Longhi declined to quantify the benefits the steel producer expects from the effort, saying it will disclose results as benefits are achieved. When asked whether it could involve closing or selling plants, he said: "Everything is on the table at this point."
The company said union workers at its idled Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario, who have been locked out since April 28, will vote today on a new contract offer. If the offer is ratified, the company plans to restart operations as soon as possible.
Videos posted on the Facebook page of United Steelworkers Local 8782, which represents the locked out Canadian workers, show union members peppering James D. Garraux, the steelmaker's general counsel, with questions and angry comments during a meeting this month.
"To say [the meetings] were a complete train wreck wouldn't be an understatement," local president Bill Ferguson said in a July 27 video update to members. During the conference call, the company also urged trade regulators to take action against unfair imports.
Mr. Surma estimated it will take a year or more for the U.S. International Trade Commission to decide a complaint U.S. Steel and other domestic producers filed last month against nine countries over imports of tubular goods used in the energy industry. He said U.S. Steel has not been able to realize many of the benefits from its investments in its tubular business because of a "recent surge of unfairly traded tubular imports."
But a steel importing group questions the legitimacy of the complaint, noting that the companies that filed it continue to make profits from their tubular business. "This is a very healthy and profitable industry not in need of trade protection," the American Institute for International Steel said in an update sent to its members Tuesday.
U.S. Steel shares finished Tuesday at $17.71, down $1.27. They are off 25 percent this year.
Len Boselovic: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1941.