Nucor Corp. reported Tuesday (Jan. 28) $107.8 million in net earnings during the fourth quarter of 2019, slightly higher than projections, but still lower when compared to the same quarter in 2018. The company reported fourth quarter net earnings of $646.8 million one year ago.
In 2019, Nucor reported consolidated net earnings of $1.27 billion, or $4.14 per diluted share, compared to $2.36 billion, or $7.42 per diluted share, in 2018.
“Stronger than expected steel mill segment performance in December was the primary driver for higher actual fourth quarter earnings than we indicated in our mid-December quantitative guidance,” said Leon Topalian, Nucor’s President and CEO. “We believe that the inventory destocking that occurred throughout most of 2019 concluded in the fourth quarter, when customers resumed more normal buying patterns.”
Topalian said that general business condition also improved during the quarter based on a number of variables.
“General business conditions improved in the fourth quarter due to a number of factors, including a rate cut by the Federal Reserve, the new labor agreement between the United Automobile Workers and GM, and definitive progress on the trade front. For the full year, strong performance in many of our steel products businesses partially offset the impact of destocking on our steelmaking operations. In particular, our Vulcraft/Verco and Building Systems groups both achieved record profitability in 2019, reflecting both strong execution by our teammates and favorable nonresidential construction market conditions,” he said.
Nucor’s consolidated net sales decreased 6% to $5.13 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with $5.46 billion in the third quarter of 2019 and decreased 18% compared with $6.30 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018.
For 2019, Nucor’s consolidated net sales decreased 10% to $22.59 billion, compared with $25.07 billion for 2018. Total tons shipped to outside customers in 2019 were 26,532,000, a decrease of 5% from 2018, while the average sales price per ton decreased 5% from 2018.