Commercial Metals returns to profit in 4Q

IRVING, Texas -- Commercial Metals returned to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter, helped by lower costs.

President and CEO Joe Alvarado cautioned that scrap metal prices are still declining but should pick up during the winter when supply tightens. The company also sees no meaningful momentum in the economic recovery, with its international mill operations pressured by European weakness.

The company, which makes, recycles and markets steel and metal products as well as related materials and services, earned $30.2 million, or 26 cents per share, for the three months ended Aug. 31. That compares with a loss of $120.3 million, or $1.04 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts predicted earnings of 28 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Writedowns of the value of assets declined to $528,000 from $24.5 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses fell to $118.2 million from $136.8 million.

Revenue fell 16 percent to $1.88 billion from $2.24 billion, which missed Wall Street's estimate of $2.02 billion.

For the full year, Commercial Metals Co. earned $207.5 million, or $1.78 per share. In the previous year the company lost $129.6 million, or $1.12 per share.

Annual revenue dipped slightly to $7.83 billion from $7.86 billion.

Commercial Metals' board declared a quarterly dividend of 12 cents per share. The dividend will be paid Nov. 21 to shareholders of record Nov. 7.

The Irving, Texas, company's stock shed 25 cents to $13.87 in afternoon trading on Wednesday.