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NATIONAL STEEL REPORTS OPERATING LOSS OF $3.4 MILLION FOR FIRST QUARTER

 NATIONAL STEEL REPORTS OPERATING LOSS
 OF $3.4 MILLION FOR FIRST QUARTER
 PITTSBURGH, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- National Steel Corporation today reported a first quarter operating loss of $3.4 million, a substantial improvement over the same 1991 period when the firm had an operating loss of $49.9 million. The corporation's net loss for the three months ending March 31, 1992 was $19.1 million, an improvement of more than $45 million when compared to a first quarter loss of $64.4 million in 1991.
 Sales were $564.1 million, more than 7 percent above the $524.6 million of the first quarter a year ago. Steel shipments for the quarter were 1,211,000 tons, an improvement of 9 percent over the 1,110,000 tons shipped in the same 1991 period. Raw steel production was 1,336,000 tons, nearly 11 percent higher than the 1,206,000 tons produced a year earlier.
 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kokichi Hagiwara attributed the reduced first quarter loss to the higher level of shipments, the company's continuing efforts to hold costs to a minimum and improvements in productivity over the same period in 1991.
 Hagiwara noted that the improvement was achieved despite an increase of $1.4 million in financing costs over the same quarter last year and a 50-cent hourly wage increase effective Jan. 1, 1992, under the terms of the company's agreement with the United Steelworkers of America.
 The chief executive said that sales to several of the firm's markets, notably construction and containers, traditionally are lower in the first quarter, and that the automotive market, National Steel's largest market segment, has yet to show significant recovery from last year's recession. As these markets account for a major share of the company's coated products, there was a negative impact on product mix, he added.
 Hagiwara reported that the continued soft market conditions have held steel prices down. "On the average," he said, "prices today are little different than they were 10 years ago, despite the significant improvements made in product quality during that period."
 President and Chief Operating Officer Ronald H. Doerr reported that National Steel's reduced first quarter operating loss -- $3 per- net-ton-shipped vs. $45 per ton in 1991 -- "is the result primarily of cost reduction efforts in all areas of the company," he said.
 The executive added that a principal indicator of National Steel's productivity, the number of manhours required to produce a ton of steel, was more than one-half a manhour less in the first quarter of 1992 than in the corresponding period last year. "This improvement illustrates our progress in lowering employment levels over the past 12 months -- through attrition and reduced overtime -- while increasing production levels," he commented.
 Doerr said that two major capital projects are progressing on schedule. A new coke battery, which will decrease the reliance of the firm's Great Lakes Division on purchased coke, is expected to start up late this year. A continuous galvanizing line being built as a joint venture with National Steel's parent company, NKK Corporation, and Dofasco Inc. of Canada, should be operational in the first quarter of 1993.
 Also proceeding on schedule, he said, is the company's new headquarters building in Mishawaka, Ind. The company plans to shift its headquarters staff there in the third quarter of 1992. The move from the firm's current headquarters in Pittsburgh coincides with a restructuring of its corporate and divisional administrative staffs.
 Doerr said that National Steel is urging employees to continue their efforts to reduce costs wherever possible and to improve productivity. He said that control of costs, combined with some anticipated improvement in economic conditions in the second half of the year, should allow National Steel to earn a small net profit in 1992.
 National Steel Corporation is the nation's fourth largest steelmaker, with production facilities in Ecorse, Mich., near Detroit; Portage, Ind., near Chicago; and Granite City, Ill., near St. Louis. The company is presently headquartered in Pittsburgh and employs about 11,000 people.
 The corporation's consolidated income summary follows:
 NATIONAL STEEL CORPORATION
 Statements of Consolidated Income
 (unaudited)
 (in millions of dollars)
 Three Months Ended March 31, 1992 1991
 Net sales $564.1 $524.6
 Cost of products sold 506.6 512.7
 Selling, general and administrative 33.1 35.2
 Depreciation, depletion and amortization 27.7 27.6
 Equity (income) loss 0.1 (1.0)
 Loss from operations (3.4) (49.9)
 Financing costs 15.6 14.2
 Loss before income taxes (19.0) (64.1)
 Income tax provision .1 .3
 Net loss (19.1) (64.4)
 -0- 4/21/92
 /CONTACT: Robert R. Toothman of National Steel, 412-394-4358/ CO: National Steel Corporation ST: Pennsylvania, Indiana IN: MNG SU: ERN


CH-ML -- PG005 -- 0545 04/21/92 11:01 EDT
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Date:Apr 21, 1992
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