Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor Corp. has announced 2020 net earnings of $721.5 million, or $2.36 per diluted share, compared with consolidated net earnings of $1.27 billion, or $4.14 per diluted share, in 2019.
For the fourth quarter of 2020, the electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaker, which also owns scrap processing and trading firm the David J. Joseph Co. (DJJ), has reported consolidated net earnings of just under $400 million. That compares with consolidated net earnings of $193 million for the third quarter of 2020 and about $108 million for the fourth quarter of 2019.
“At the onset of the pandemic, we capitalized on the flexibility of our business model and strong demand for our products to gain market share across nearly our entire portfolio,” says Leon Topalian, Nucor president and CEO. “We are extremely grateful to our more than 26,000 teammates whose hard work and dedication enabled us to achieve strong financial and operational results throughout the year. Looking ahead, we are confident that Nucor is poised for continued growth, and we anticipate earnings in the first quarter of 2021 to significantly increase from the fourth quarter of 2020.”
The company’s Raw Materials segment, which includes the DJJ operations, earned $23.6 million in all of 2020 compared with a $28.2 million net loss in 2019. “The profitability of the raw materials segment increased in the fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to the third quarter of 2020 due to the improved financial performance of our direct reduced iron (DRI) facilities, which are benefitting from higher average selling prices for raw materials,” Nucor states.
The company indicates its EAF mills paid more for scrap in 2020’s fourth quarter, writing in its earnings news release, “The average scrap and scrap substitute cost per gross ton used in the fourth quarter of 2020 was $305, a 10 percent increase compared to $277 in the third quarter of 2020 and an 11 percent increase compared to $275 in the fourth quarter of 2019. The average scrap and scrap substitute cost per gross ton used for the full year 2020 was $290, an 8 percent decrease compared to $314 for the full year 2019.”
Looking ahead, Nucor writes, “We expect earnings in the first quarter of 2021 to significantly increase from the fourth quarter of 2020.” Of interest to recyclers, the company also writes, “The raw materials segment’s performance in the first quarter of 2021 is expected to be significantly improved compared with the fourth quarter of 2020 due to higher raw materials selling prices.”