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Cleveland-Cliffs' (CLF) Q3 Earnings Miss, Sales Top Estimates

Nilanjan Gupta
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Cleveland-Cliffs' (CLF) Q3 Earnings Miss, Sales Top Estimates

Cleveland-Cliffs' (CLF) pellet sales volume rose 10% year over year in Q3. For 2018, it continues to expect U.S. Iron Ore sales volume at 21 million long tons.

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. CLF reported net earnings (attributable to shareholders) of $437.8 million or $1.41 per share in third-quarter 2018, up from net earnings of $53.4 million or 18 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Adjusted earnings came in at 64 cents per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 66 cents.

Cleveland-Cliffs posted third-quarter consolidated revenues of $741.8 million, up 24.3% year over year. The figure beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $722.5 million.

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. Quote

 

U.S. Iron Ore Results

U.S. Iron Ore pellet sales volume was 6.5 million long tons in the quarter, up roughly 10% year over year. The upside was mainly driven by increased customer demand.

Realized revenues per ton improved 17% year over year to $105.65, mainly driven by higher steel pricing and pellet premiums, which were driven by favorable contract structures. Notably, the increase was partly offset by higher freight rates.

Cash cost of goods sold and operating expense per long ton increased to $62.54 compared with $60.79 per long ton in the year-ago quarter. The increase was due to higher employee-related expenses along with higher royalties.

Financial Position

Cleveland-Cliffs had $897.1 million of cash and cash equivalents as of Sep 30, 2018 compared with $227.1 million as of Sep 30, 2017.

Long-term debt was $2,300 million as of Sep 30, 2018 compared with $1,689.4 million as of Sep 30, 2017.

Outlook

Cleveland-Cliffs expects to realize U.S. Iron Ore revenue rates in the range of $105 to $110 per long ton, assuming that steel prices, pellet premiums and iron ore prices will average for the rest of 2018 their respective year-to-date averages.

For 2018, Cleveland-Cliffs maintained U.S. Iron Ore sales and production volume expectations to 21 million long tons and 20 million tons, respectively. Cash cost of goods sold and operating expense expectation are unchanged at $58-$63 per long ton.

The company maintained full-year selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses to be around $115 million, of which roughly $20 million is considered non-cash.

Cleveland-Cliffs provided an update on 2018 capital expenditure budget. The capital spending expectation for the Toledo HBI Project has been reduced by $25 million to $175 million due to further development and refined timing of the project spending plan. However, it has maintained sustaining capital expectation at $75 million and Northshore Mine upgrade spending expectation at $50 million.

Price Performance

Cleveland-Cliffs’ shares gained 1.5% in the past three months against the industry’s 7.8% decline.

 



 

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Cleveland-Cliffs currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

A few other top-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Methanex Corporation MEOH, KMG Chemicals, Inc. KMG and CF Industries Holdings, Inc. CF, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Methanex has expected long-term earnings growth rate of 15%. Its shares have surged 44.2% in the past year.

KMG Chemicals has expected long-term earnings growth rate of 28.5%. Its shares have gained 35.3% in the past year.

CF Industries has expected long-term earnings growth rate of 6%. Its shares have rallied 39.5% in a year.

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