CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) announced today guidance for its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2013. Nucor expects fourth quarter results to be in the range of $0.35 to $0.40 per diluted share. This range represents a decrease from both third quarter of 2013 earnings of $0.46 per diluted share and fourth quarter of 2012 earnings of $0.43 per diluted share.
Projected fourth quarter results include an estimated $30.0 million of LIFO expense ($0.06 per diluted share) as compared with a credit of $18.0 million ($0.03 per diluted share) in the third quarter of 2013 and a credit of $71.9 million ($0.14 per diluted share) in the fourth quarter of 2012. Also affecting earnings in the third quarter of 2013 was a net $14.0 million ($0.03 per diluted share) partial write down of inventory and fixed asset balances associated with the collapse of a storage dome at Nucor Steel Louisiana in St. James Parish. Affecting earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012 was a non-cash charge of $12.0 million ($0.02 per diluted share) related to inventory purchase accounting adjustments following the acquisition of Skyline Steel LLC in June of 2012.
Operating performance before LIFO expense for the fourth quarter of 2013 is expected to be similar to the third quarter of 2013. Sheet steel profitability has continued to improve in spite of the three week planned outage at our sheet mill in Berkeley County, South Carolina to accommodate major equipment upgrades related to our wide and light product expansion. The increased sheet steel performance in the second half of 2013 is due to a series of pricing increases that began late in the second quarter that were supported by competitor supply disruptions and slightly improved demand. The improvement in sheet steel is partially offset by decreased performance at our bar and structural steel mills. Lower operating performance at the bar and structural mills is mainly due to extended planned outages during the fourth quarter while key components of some of our major capital projects are being installed at our SBQ mill in Norfolk, Nebraska and our structural mill in Blytheville, Arkansas. Our raw materials segment is expected to report weaker results in the fourth quarter due mainly to increased start-up costs at our new Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) plant in Louisiana and additional costs incurred as a result of the storage dome collapse in September. We expect our Louisiana DRI facility will start production by the end of the year. Thus far in 2013 non-residential construction markets continue to lack sustained momentum, but they are slowly improving from historically low levels. The strongest end markets continue to be in manufactured goods including energy and automotive.
Nucor and Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. (Encana), our partner in our natural gas working interest drilling program, have agreed to temporarily suspend drilling new natural gas wells. This joint decision is being made due to the current weak natural gas pricing environment. This pause demonstrates the flexibility of our partnership with Encana to react to market conditions to the mutual benefit of both parties while still allowing us to better manage our exposure to natural gas pricing volatility at our operating divisions that consume natural gas. Cessation of drilling will reduce Nucor's capital expenditures for 2014 by approximately $400 million.
Nucor and 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; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; steel grating and expanded metal; 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) 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; (2) market demand for steel products; (3) energy costs and availability; and (4) competitive pressure on sales and pricing, including competition from imports and substitute materials. These and other factors are outlined in Nucor's regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those in Nucor's December 31, 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Item IA. 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.
SOURCE Nucor Corporation