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U.S. Steel triples first-quarter profit year-over-year to $54 million

The entrance to U.S. Steel Gary Works is shown. U.S. Steel turned a $54 million profit in the first quarter.

U.S. Steel tripled its first-quarter profit to $54 million, up from $18 million during the first quarter of 2018.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker earned $0.31 per diluted share in the first quarter, up from $0.10 per share a year ago. Amid improved market conditions with 25% tariffs on foreign-made steel, U.S. Steel brought in $81 million in adjusted net earnings in the first quarter, up from $57 million during the same time last year.

“Over the past few years, we have made strategic investments across our footprint, with a focus on our most critical flat-rolled steelmaking assets,” U.S. Steel President and CEO David Burritt said. “Our progress continued in the first quarter as we delivered strong financial results. Today's announcement of a state-of-the-art endless casting and rolling line at Mon Valley Works further strengthens our competitive position and will generate long-term value for our stockholders, customers, employees and community.

The steelmaker's Flat-Rolled division, which includes Gary Works, East Chicago Tin and the Midwest Plant in Portage, made $95 million in net earnings in the first quarter, up from $33 million during the same period in 2018. The Flat-Rolled division shipped 2.7 million tons at an average price of $798 a ton, up from 2.5 million tons at an average price of $740 a ton during the first quarter of 2018.

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Company-wide, U.S. Steel shipped a total of 3.9 million tons in the first quarter, up from 3.8 million tons during the same time last year.

The company's net sales totaled $3.5 billion in the first three months of the year, up from $3.14 billion during the first quarter of last year.

U.S. Steel beat analysts' expectations that it would only make $0.17 per share. New York City-based analyst Charles Bradford said the company had not been expected to deliver a strong quarter because steel prices have been sliding since hitting a peak under the tariffs last summer.

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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.