Zinc producer Horsehead Holdings reports quarterly, yearly losses

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Horsehead Holding today reported losses for the fourth quarter and all of 2013, weighed down by the costs of closing its Monaca plant and other items.

The Robinson zinc producer lost $12.4 million, or 26 cents per share, during the quarter. Sales fell 3 percent, to $103.6 million.

Excluding hedge-related losses as well as severance and other costs related to closing the Monaca plant, Horsehead said the adjusted fourth quarter earnings totaled $3.8 million, or 8 cents per share, better than the adjusted loss of 13 cents per share analysts were expecting. Fourth quarter sales fell shy of the $107 million analysts were forecasting.

For the year, Horsehead lost $14 million, or 31 cents per share, on sales of $441.9 million vs. a 2012 loss of $30.4 million, or 69 cents per share, and sales of $435.7 million.

In a statement, president and CEO James Hensler said zinc production at the company’s new plant in Mooresboro, N.C. should begin before the end of the first quarter. The Monaca smelter will be permanently idled once that happens, he said.

The company expects that once the new plant is fully operational, it will generate $90 million to $110 million annually in additional earnings before interest, taxes and other items.

Horsehead said Royal Dutch Shell, which has an option to acquire the Monaca property for an ethane cracker plant, has begun demolition at the plant at its own expense. The work will continue through 2014, the company said.

The results were announced before Wall Street opened. Horsehead shares closed Monday at $17.12, up 12 cents. They are up nearly 6 percent this year.

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

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