Steel Dynamics Inc., the nation's fifth-largest producer of carbon steel products, said Thursday it expects fourth-quarter earnings to decline from third-quarter levels due to lower shipments and weaker profit margins at its metal recycling operations.
The company forecasts earnings per share of 10 to 20 cents, down from 30 cents per share in the third quarter. That's well below analysts' average estimate of 23 cents per share, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
Steel Dynamics said it experienced sharp declines in transaction prices in its metal recycling business early in the quarter and a slight easing in operating rates at its sheet product locations.
"Encouragingly, though, recent order entry activity has been robust at our flat-rolled and SBQ bar operations, and pricing has begun to move in a positive direction," said Chairman and CEO Keith Busse in a statement. "Yet, sustainability remains a question mark."
The company also said it will pay a quarterly dividend of 7.5 cents per share on Jan. 11 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 31.
Steel Dynamics shares dropped 34 cents to $18.05 in afternoon trading.