NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Bethlehem Steel Corp. reported a second-quarter loss Tuesday that was much worse than analysts expected as falling prices and demand and higher production costs continued to eat away at the steelmaker.|
The Bethlehem, Pa.-based company reported a loss for the second quarter of $120 million before one-time items, or $1 a share, compared with a loss of $10 million, or a penny a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by earnings tracker First Call expected Bethlehem to lose 88 cents a share.
Bethlehem also said it is closing a coke plant in Lackawanna, N.Y., eliminating 340 jobs and leading to a $40 million third-quarter charge.
An economic slowdown, weak demand, low prices, and overseas competition have led to rocky times for U.S. steel companies. In December, competitor LTV Steel Corp., then the third-largest U.S. steelmaker, filed for Chapter 11 bankrupt protection. Other companies in the industry also have been struggling.
Bethlehem was upbeat about the future, however, saying it expects a "modest" recovery in prices, a stronger economy and higher steel demand later this year. Still, Bethlehem is not out of the woods.
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"Our future liquidity will remain dependent upon sources of financing, completion of asset sales, business conditions, and operating performance," the company said.
The Bush Administration has taken the first step toward possibly imposing penalties on overseas steelmakers, charging them with dumping steel on the U.S. market, a move Bethlehem said it supported.
Bethlehem (BS: unchanged at $2.15, Research, Estimates) shares fell in midday trading Wednesday.