U.S. Steel turned a profit of $147 million in the third quarter, up from $51 million in the third quarter of 2016.
The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker beat analysts' expectations, earning $0.83 per share. It declared a dividend of $0.05 per share.
“Our third quarter results were modestly better than we expected," U.S. Steel President and CEO Dave Burritt said. "Our results for the first nine months of 2017 improved over the first nine months of 2016.”
U.S. Steel brought in $299 million in operating cash flow in the third quarter, including a $160 million profit from its flat rolled operations that include Gary Works, East Chicago Tin and the Midwest Plant in Portage.
The steelmaker now has $3.5 billion in liquidity, including $1.7 billion in cash.
"Our balance sheet continues to improve, with net debt decreasing by $200 million in the third quarter, to $1.2 billion," Burritt said. "Our total liquidity also increased during the quarter, which leaves us well positioned to continue the implementation of our asset revitalization program."
U.S. Steel expects to make $323 million this year, or $1.83 per share, if market conditions persist.
"We remain focused on our operations, revitalizing our assets, and developing our talent. We are seeing operating improvements in the assets in which we are investing," Burritt said. "This increases our confidence that we will achieve the 2020 improvement targets we have disclosed. We believe the attention to our assets and employees, with continued focus on improving safety, quality, delivery, and cost, will result in improved operating reliability and enable us to remain a strong business partner for our customers."
Burritt said the steelmaker is going forward with plans to build a new galvanizing line in Ohio instead of Portage.
"In addition to the increased focus on our operations, we also are continuing to develop the next generation of steel products for our customers," he said. "Our Generation 3 steels will provide superior formability and high-strength properties while using a low-alloyed approach for robust weldability. To expand our capabilities in Generation 3 steels, we announced last month that a new continuous galvanizing line will be constructed at our PRO-TEC Coating Company joint venture, which will allow PRO-TEC to produce these Generation 3 steels with a hot-dipped zinc coating."