Nucor (NUE) Q1 EPS Guidance Tops Consensus

March 16, 2021 9:10 AM EDT

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Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) today announced guidance for its first quarter ending April 3, 2021. Nucor expects first quarter earnings to be in the range of $3.00 to $3.10 per diluted share. First quarter of 2021 earnings are expected to be the highest quarterly earnings in Nucor history, surpassing the previous record set in the third quarter of 2008.

(*Consensus sees Q1 EPS of $2.79)

March is expected to be the strongest month of the quarter. Margins have expanded since the beginning of the year, a trend we expect to continue into the second quarter. We believe earnings in the second quarter of 2021 will likely set a new record for quarterly earnings.

All three Nucor segments are generating strong results. The steel mills and raw materials segments' first quarter of 2021 results are expected to be significantly higher than the previous quarter due to strong steel demand and higher prices. All the product groups in the steel mills segment are forecasting higher first quarter results compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, with the largest increases coming from our sheet and plate mills. The Company is experiencing strong demand across most of its end markets, including nonresidential construction, automotive, renewable energy, heavy equipment and agriculture.

During the first quarter, Nucor has repurchased 5.4 million shares at an average price of $56.11 per share. Nucor has returned more than $420 million to stockholders in the form of share repurchases and dividend payments year-to-date.

Nucor expects that strong cash flow from operations will enable us to end the quarter with more than $4.5 billion in financial liquidity, including the Company's $1.5 billion undrawn revolving credit facility.

Nucor's first quarter of 2021 guidance range compares to fourth quarter of 2020 earnings of $1.30 per diluted share and first quarter of 2020 earnings of $0.07 per diluted share. Included in the fourth quarter of 2020 earnings were the following: non-cash impairment charges of $130.2 million, or $0.33 per diluted share; net benefits of $48.2 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, and $39.7 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, related to certain tax items; and a net benefit of $17.9 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, resulting from the transaction that concluded Nucor's investment in Duferdofin Nucor S.r.l. Included in the first quarter of 2020 results were losses on assets of $287.8 million, or $0.92 per diluted share, related to our previously held equity method investment in Duferdofin Nucor S.r.l.

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