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ArcelorMittal makes $1.2 billion in first quarter but ArcelorMittal USA loses $32.4 million

ArcelorMittal’s offices at Indiana Harbor in East Chicago are pictured. 

ArcelorMittal made $1.2 billion in the first quarter, but ArcelorMittal USA lost $32.4 million in the United States, despite the newly imposed tariffs of 25 percent on most foreign-made steel.

That means its thousands of steelworkers in Northwest Indiana won't take home profit-sharing checks. 

ArcelorMittal CEO John Brett said the global steelmaker's U.S. operations achieved its target for total shipments and it improved in customer delivery performance, but it stumbled in quality and hurt its bottom line by missing targets for prime shipments.

"Increased raw material costs offset higher selling prices for the quarter. However, we expect to reverse this relationship on the improving market environment in Q2 and beyond," Brett said. "New trade remedies that were put in place the final weeks of first quarter have not yet offset or provided the intended balancing effect in combating imports. However, we believe ArcelorMittal USA is well positioned to benefit from the impact of trade remedies moving forward."

ArcelorMittal should be able to capitalize off of the rising steel prices and improving market conditions in the United States, Brett said.

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"We have the capabilities and teams in place to capitalize on the strengthening market environment," he said. "However, our success will depend on our ability to execute and maintain a relentless focus on quality and on-time delivery to our customers. I am convinced that we are headed in the right direction and if we perform at our best, we are poised to be successful in achieving a profitable and sustainable future for ArcelorMittal USA.”

Globally, ArcelorMittal did well in the first three months of the year. The Luxembourg-based steelmaker, which has steelmaking and mining operations around the world, made $1.6 billion in operating income, up from $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter.

ArcelorMittal brought in $2.5 billion in Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amoritization, or 17.3 percent more than in the fourth quarter, largely because average steel selling prices rose by 8.2 percent.

Steel shipments rose 1.7 percent to 21.3 million tons in the first quarter.

“The improvement in global steel market dynamics has continued into 2018, supporting an encouraging financial performance in the first quarter," ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said. "EBITDA increased 13 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion, while net income improved by 19 percent to $1.2 billion. The outlook for 2018 has strengthened as the year has progressed, with the combination of growing demand and supply-side reform driving higher capacity utilization rates and healthy steel spreads globally. Against this improving backdrop, we continue to focus on structural improvement — through the delivery of our Action 2020 strategic plan — and investing with focus and discipline in opportunities that will drive higher future returns."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.