CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) announced today guidance for its first quarter ending April 1, 2017. Nucor expects first quarter results to be in the range of $1.10 to $1.15 per diluted share. This range is an increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 consolidated net earnings of $0.50 per diluted share and the first quarter of 2016 earnings of $0.27 per diluted share.
Projected first quarter of 2017 results include estimated purchase accounting charges of $11.5 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, associated with the recent acquisitions of Southland Tube and Republic Conduit. Included in the fourth quarter of 2016 results were the effects of a change in estimate related to the cost of certain inventories that resulted in a benefit of $77.6 million, or $0.16 per diluted share. Included in the first quarter of 2016 earnings were out-of-period non-cash gains totaling $13.4 million ($0.04 per diluted share) related to a noncontrolling interest adjustment and to tax adjustments.
The expected improvement in earnings in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 is primarily due to the performance of our steel mills segment. The increased profitability of the steel mills segment is driven by the improved performance of our sheet and plate mills. The profitability of the steel products segment in the first quarter of 2017 is expected to decrease compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 due to typical seasonality. We are encouraged by the renewed growth in demand we are seeing in both the nonresidential construction and energy markets. The heavy equipment markets remain weak. The automotive markets remain strong.
Imports continue to impact the U.S. steel industry. Important trade cases in cut-to-length plate and rebar are in progress, which are helping to stop the flood of dumped and subsidized products from foreign producers, and are making sure that we can compete on a level-playing field. In the cut-to-length plate cases filed against twelve countries in April 2016, affirmative final determinations have been announced on dumped and subsidized imports from Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey, and earlier this month, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted unanimously that the domestic industry is being injured by dumped and subsidized plate imports from China. We expect the remaining plate cases to conclude in the coming months. Also, the U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced preliminary antidumping duties on imports of steel concrete reinforcing bar from Japan, Taiwan, and Turkey, and preliminary countervailing duty duties on rebar imports from Turkey. We expect the rebar case to conclude later this year.
Nucor Steel Louisiana recently resumed operations after experiencing an unplanned outage that began in early February caused by an equipment failure. In addition to making the necessary repairs resulting from the equipment failure, the team at Nucor Steel Louisiana used the outage as an opportunity to complete planned maintenance activities that were scheduled for later in the year. Despite the unplanned outage at Nucor Steel Louisiana, we expect increased profitability of the raw materials segment in the first quarter of 2017 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 due to the much improved performance of our scrap processing and brokerage operations as well as our direct reduced iron facility in Trinidad.
Nucor and its affiliates are manufacturers of steel products, with operating facilities primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Products produced include: carbon and alloy steel -- in bars, beams, sheet and plate; hollow structural section tubing; electrical conduit; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; steel grating; and wire and wire mesh. Nucor, through The David J. Joseph Company, also brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron and HBI/DRI; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap. Nucor is North America's largest recycler.
Certain statements contained in this news release are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. The words "believe," "expect," "project," "will," "should," "could" and similar expressions are intended to identify those forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (1) competitive pressure on sales and pricing, including competition from imports and substitute materials; (2) the sensitivity of the results of our operations to prevailing steel prices and the changes in the supply and cost of raw materials, including scrap steel; (3) market demand for steel products; and (4) energy costs and availability. These and other factors are discussed in Nucor's regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those in Nucor's fiscal 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Item 1A. Risk Factors. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release speak only as of this date, and Nucor does not assume any obligation to update them.
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SOURCE Nucor Corporation