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SDI completes record quarter

EAF steelmaker sees record steel fabrication, net sales and operating income in its third quarter, with its CEO noting solid domestic steel demand for the fourth quarter and into 2022.

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October 19, 2021

Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Fort Wayne, Indiana, has reported record third-quarter 2021 financial results, with net sales of $5.1 billion and net income of $991 million, or $4.85 per diluted share. Excluding the impact of approximately $30 million, or 11 cents per diluted share (net of capitalized interest), associated with construction its Sinton, Texas, mill, SDI’s adjusted net income for the third quarter was $1 billion, or $4.96 per diluted share. The company indicated it expected record results in mid-September. 

Third-quarter net sales for 2020 totaled $2.3 billion, with net income of $100 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, and adjusted earnings of 51 cents per diluted share, excluding the impact of the costs associated with the Sinton mill of 4 cents per diluted share. SDI’s sequential quarterly earnings for 2021 were $3.32 per diluted share, and adjusted earnings were $3.40 per diluted share.

Mark D. Millett, SDI chairman and chief executive officer, says, "The team continued to perform extraordinarily well, achieving record quarterly financial results, including record sales, operating income, cash flow from operations and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Our third-quarter 2021 operating income increased 38 percent sequentially to $1.3 billion, while adjusted EBITDA increased 36 percent to $1.4 billion. This is truly an incredible achievement and a testament to the passion and commitment of our team. We generated record quarterly cash flow from operations of $631 million and maintained strong liquidity while supporting our working capital needs, growing our business through organic growth investments and returning capital to our shareholders.”

Millett says steel demand remained strong throughout the quarter and product prices rose. “Higher realized steel selling values drove significant metal spread expansion and were again most prominent within our flat-roll steel operations, as continued demand strength and low customer inventories persisted throughout the supply chain and supported prices. Domestic steel consumption was strong from the automotive, construction and industrial sectors, while the energy sector continued to show signs of recovery.”

He points to “outstanding” results from SDI’s various operating segments, with its steel operating segment recording $1.4 billion in operating income, while its steel fabrication operations saw record operating income that was three times greater than in the second quarter. He adds that SDI’s metals recycling operation’s earnings were strong despite the decline in scrap prices seen in August and September.

“Our steel fabrication backlog continues grow, remaining at record volumes and forward-pricing," Millett says.

Quarterly results

SDI attributes the growth in its steel operations operating income, which was 33 percent higher than in the second quarter, to significant metal spread expansion. Record flat-roll and strong long product steel realized selling values more than offset higher scrap input costs, according to the company. The average external product selling price for SDI’s steel operations increased $258 sequentially to $1,550 per ton in the third quarter, while the average ferrous scrap cost per ton melted at its steel mills increased $50 sequentially to $489 per ton.

Third-quarter operating income from SDI’s OmniSource metals recycling operations remained strong at $47 million as a result of higher sequential ferrous metal margins offsetting slightly lower volumes, the company says. Ferrous scrap prices moderated in August and September after rising early in the quarter. SDI says it anticipates ferrous prime scrap pricing indices to increase slightly for the remainder of the year after also declining in October.

"We continue to see strong steel demand coupled with moderating but still historically low customer inventories throughout the supply chain. These dynamics support continued elevated steel selling values." - Mark Millett, chariman and CEO of Steel Dynamics Inc. 

The company's steel fabrication operations reported operating income of $89 million, more than tripling the sequential second-quarter results. Supported by record quarterly shipments, SDI says earnings significantly improved as realized pricing increased $586 per ton, more than offsetting higher average steel input costs. Steel joist and deck product pricing has strengthened significantly to record levels in light of strong demand, and order activity remains strong as customers continue to be optimistic concerning new projects well into 2022, the company says. SDI’s steel fabrication order backlog is at a record level in terms of volume and forward-pricing at the end of September.

Year-to-date results

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, SDI reported net income of $2.1 billion, or $10.15 per diluted share, with net sales of $13.1 billion as compared to net income of $363 million, or $1.71 per diluted share, with net sales of $7 billion for the same period in 2020. Excluding costs of approximately $73 million, or 25 cents per diluted share (net of capitalized interest), associated with the construction of its Texas mill, adjusted net income so far this year totaled $2.2 billion, or $10.40 per diluted share. Adjusting for the company's Texas steel mill construction costs and a June 2020 refinancing, net income was $398 million, or $1.88 per diluted share, for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2020.

Net sales for the first nine months of 2021 increased 87 percent and operating income increased 388 percent to $2.9 billion when compared with the same period in 2020. Higher earnings were primarily the result of steel metal spread expansion, as significantly higher average steel selling values more than offset higher average ferrous scrap costs across the steel platform, SDI says, especially within its flat-roll steel operations. Compared with the same period in 2020, the average external selling price for the company's steel operations during the first nine months of 2021 increased $538 to $1,293 per ton. The average ferrous scrap cost per ton melted at the company's steel mills for the first nine months increased by $169 to $433 per ton.

SDI says it achieved cash flow from operations of $1.5 billion during the first nine months of 2021 and invested $802 million in capital investments, paid cash dividends of $161 million and repurchased $731 million of its common stock. representing more than 5 percent of its outstanding shares, while maintaining liquidity of $2.3 billion.

Outlook

Millett says, "Current market conditions are in place to support solid domestic steel demand for the fourth quarter and into 2022. Order entry activity continues to be robust across our businesses. We continue to see strong steel demand coupled with moderating but still historically low customer inventories throughout the supply chain. These dynamics support continued elevated steel selling values. Domestic steel demand remains solid in our automotive, construction and industrial end markets. We believe this momentum will continue and that our fourth-quarter consolidated earnings could represent another record performance. Based on strong domestic steel fundamentals and customer confidence, we continue to be positive regarding North American steel market dynamics. This constructive environment coupled with our strategic growth initiatives provide firm drivers for our further growth in the coming years.”

He adds that the company’s Sinton, Texas, mill investment “represents transformational competitively advantaged strategic growth, with associated long-term value creation for all of our stakeholders.”

Millett continues, “Actual steel production is still planned to start before the end of 2021, and based on current forecasts, we believe shipments could be in the range of 2 million tons to 2.2 million tons in 2022.”

He projects through-cycle annual EBITDA for the fully operational mill to range from $475 million to $525 million.

"We also plan to invest approximately $500 million to build four additional value-added flat-roll steel coating lines comprised of two paint lines and two galvanizing lines with Galvalume coating capability, a set of which will be located on-site at our new Texas steel mill, providing Sinton with the same diversification and higher-margin product capabilities as our two existing flat roll steel divisions,” Millett adds. “The other two lines will be placed at our Heartland Flat Roll Division located in Terre Haute, Indiana, to support growing coated flat-roll steel demand in the region and to further increase the diversification and cash generation capacity of our existing Midwest operations. Based on current estimates, we believe these four lines will likely begin operating mid-2023.”

He continues, “We are a steel industry leader in sustainability, operating exclusively with electric arc furnace technology with a circular manufacturing model. As our journey continues, we are committed to the reduction of our environmental footprint, including a goal for our steel mills to be carbon neutral by 2050. We are starting from a position of strength yet plan to do more. We are competitively positioned and focused toward generating long-term sustainable growth for all of our stakeholders.”