US minimill group, Nucor Corporation announced consolidated net earnings of $504.6M, or $1.58 per diluted share, for the full year 2012, down 35% on consolidated net earnings of $778.2M, or $2.45 per diluted share, for the full year 2011.

For the final quarter 2012 the Company Nucor reported consolidated net earnings of $136.9M, or $0.43 per diluted share, up 2.6% on the $110.3, or $0.35 per diluted share, on Q3 2012 and similar to the net earnings of $137.1M, or $0.43 per diluted share, of Q4 2011.

Q3 2012 results also included a loss on the sale of the assets of Nucor Wire Products Pennsylvania, Inc of $17.6M and Q4 2011 results were impacted by a non-cash gain of $29.0M ($0.06 per diluted share) for the correction of an actuarial calculation related to the medical plan covering certain eligible early retirees.

For the full year 2012, Nucor's consolidated net sales decreased 3% to $19.43bn, compared with $20.02bn for 2011. Average sales price per short ton (US) decreased 3% from the full year 2011. Total tons shipped to outside customers reached 23.092M stons, a slight increase from 2011 levels.

In Q4 2012 consolidated net sales decreased 7% to $4.45bn compared with $4.80bn in Q3 2012 and further decreased 8% compared with $4.83bn in Q4 2011.

The average sales price per ton decreased 2% from the third quarter of 2012 and fell 4% compared with Q4 2011. Total tons shipped to outside customers in Q4 2012 were 5.478M a 5% fall from Q3 2012 and a 4% decrease from Q4 2011.
The average scrap and scrap substitute cost per ton used for the full year 2012 was $407, a decrease of 7% from $439 in 2011. The average scrap and scrap substitute cost per ton used in Q4 2012 was $372, a decrease of 2% from $380 in Q3 2012 but a decrease of 16% from $441 in Q4 2011.

Average overall operating rates at Nucors’ steel mills were 74% for the full year 2012, which is consistent with 2011 and an increase from 70% in 2010. Steel mill utilization rates in the Q4 2012 (71%) were flat when compared with the third quarter and with last year's fourth quarter.

For the full year 2012, total energy costs decreased approximately $2 per ton from the prior year primarily due to lower natural gas unit costs. In Q4 2012, total energy costs decreased approximately $2 per ton from Q3 2012, and decreased slightly from the fourth quarter of 2011 primarily due to lower electricity unit costs.

Louisiana DRI plant

Construction is proceeding well on the 2.5Mston DRI facility in Louisiana. The majority of the equipment arrived in 2012, and the work is on schedule for start-up in the middle of this year.

In December, Nucor's board of directors declared a cash dividend of $0.3675 per share payable on February 11, 2013.

Nucor expect to see Q1 2013 earnings below the results if Q4 2012. This reflects expectation of level operating performance and a reversal of LIFO (credit to value inventories using the last-in, first-out – LIFO − method) from a large credit in the Q4 2012 to a small charge in Q1 2013.
The Construction markets are showing some small improvement but remain at historically anemic levels. The strongest end markets continue to be manufactured goods including automotive, energy and heavy equipment. High import levels, volatility in raw material costs and general economic uncertainty are all factors that could undermine our expectations.