Pension, Health Costs Help Produce US Steel Loss

August 4, 2003 ( - Hit hard by high pension and health-care costs, United States Steel Corp. is reporting a second-quarter loss.

Reuters reported that US Steel announced a $49-million loss or $0.51 per share, compared to a $27-million profit or $0.28 per share at the same time last year. Revenue rose to $2.36 billion from $1.81 billion last year.

Pittsburgh-based US Steel said the quarterly results included a loss of $52 million, or $0.50 cents per share, from health care obligations related to the sale of its coal mining business in June.

In May, US Steel completed its $850 million cash acquisition of bankrupt steelmaker National Steel, a deal that made the company the largest US integrated steelmaker (See National Steel Severs Retiree Health Premium Payments ). The company said it will take a $500 million charge in the second half of 2003 for workforce reductions announced after the National deal.

Defunct pension plans from a flock of ailing or bankrupt steel companies have proven a major drain on the resources of the federal pension insurer, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) (See  PBGC: Deficit Continues to Grow  ).