Cliffs reports loss, but increased iron ore sales – by John Myers (Duluth news Tribune – April 27, 2017)

Cliffs Natural Resources lost $30 million in the first quarter of 2017, saying it spent more on efforts to reduce its debt and improve its long-term corporate health. The $30 million loss included a $72 million cost for restructuring debt in February. The company has cut its debt to about $1.6 billion compared to $2.5 billion at this time last year.

The company’s first quarter adjusted EBITDA — earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization — was $92 million, up 156 percent over last year. EBITDA is considered a good measure of a company’s current operational health.

Cliffs reported consolidated revenues of $462 million, up 51 percent from last year, due to increased sales and higher prices. The company’s U.S. iron ore pellet sales volume in the first quarter of 2017 was 3.1 million long tons, a 63 percent increase when compared to the first quarter of 2016 as a result of increased demand by its customers — domestic steel producers.

“Current demand for steel in this country is strong,’’ Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs CEO, said during a teleconference Thursday morning with industry analysts. He said most steel mills in the U.S. are doing well despite recent news of U.S. Steel’s massive loss in the first quarter.

Goncalves said overall steel production is up and that efforts to keep subsidized foreign steel out of the U.S. continue to gain support.

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