Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp. has reported fourth-quarter 2021 net earnings of $1.07 billion, or $3.75 per diluted share. The figure presents a remarkable contrast with the fourth quarter of 2020 when U.S. Steel’s adjusted net loss was $60 million, or minus 27 cents per diluted share.
For the full year of 2021, U.S. Steel says its net earnings checked in at $4.17 billion, or $14.88 per diluted share. That compares to full-year 2020 net loss of $1.16 billion, or minus $5.92 per diluted share.
“2021 was a year of records and we delivered with record earnings and free cash flow and record safety, environmental, quality and reliability performance,” says U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt. “We enter 2022 from a position of strength and are relentlessly focused on continuing our disciplined approach to creating stockholder value. Our balance sheet has been transformed, record cash significantly de-risks strategy execution and our capital allocation priorities have enhanced direct stockholder returns. We are a fundamentally different company from a year ago and expect 2022 to be another strong year.”
The company continues to make steel at integrated blast furnace/basic oxygen furnace complexes, but it also has been investing heavily in scrap-fed electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking. That has come in the form of its ownership of Big River Steel in Arkansas and the installation of EAF furnaces in Alabama.
Referring to the company’s “Best for All” strategy, Burritt says, “Through our Best for All customer-centric strategy, U. S. Steel continues to gain market share with our clear competitive advantages: low-cost iron ore, minimill steelmaking and best-in-class finishing capabilities.”
Burritt continues, “2022 will be another year of strategic progress and upon completion, our announced strategic investments will deliver approximately $850 million of incremental through-cycle earnings power with winning customer solutions while reducing our capital and carbon intensity. We are becoming a better, not bigger company as we continue to innovate and develop the next generation of our sustainable steel solutions for our people and our planet.”
Regarding current and anticipated capital allocation projects, U.S. Steel says during the fourth quarter of 2021, the company repurchased $150 million of its common stock under the $300 million stock buyback authorization announced in October of last year. In addition, the board of directors has authorized a new $500 million stock repurchase program to start in the first quarter 2022.