U.S. Steel Profit Sinks 66.1% in First Quarter

U.S. Steel earned $58 million in the first quarter, down 66.1% from last year's $171 million, but its basic steel operations reported a sharp increase in profit, the company said Tuesday.

The nation's largest steelmaker said its worldwide sales in the quarter fell to $4.5 billion, down 6.25% from last year's $4.8 billion.

It said its steel division made an operating profit of $34 million on sales of $1.6 billion in the first quarter, up from last year's marginal profit of $4 million, also on sales of $1.6 million.

The company credited its continuing cost-cutting efforts for the increase, since steel shipments actually fell 9% from the levels posted in the first quarter of 1984.

Faced with record imports so far in 1985, the company's steel mills operated at just 60% of capacity during the first three months of the year, U.S. Steel said.

Chairman David M. Roderick said in a statement that he expects the steel division's performance to improve in the second quarter, partly because of the Administration's new quotas on steel imports.

U.S. Steel's oil and gas operations, including its Marathon Oil subsidiary, reported an operating profit of $293 million on sales of $2.5 billion, down 19.3% from last year's earnings of $363 million on sales of $2.6 billion.

The company blamed the decline on lower profit margins for its U.S.-refined products and on declining crude oil prices worldwide.

Meanwhile, LTV Corp., a Dallas-based conglomerate that is the nation's second-largest steelmaker, reported a first-quarter loss of $156.4 million, compared to a loss of $29 million during the same period last year.

LTV owns both Jones & Laughlin Steel and Republic Steel, which it acquired through a merger last year. LTV said its steel operations posted a $111.7-million loss during the quarter, compared to a loss of $27.4 million in the first quarter of 1984, before the merger with Republic.

Raymond A. Hay, LTV chairman and chief executive, blamed the first-quarter loss on "extremely unfavorable market conditions in the steel business." In particular, Hay cited the strength of the dollar and "a continuing flood of imported steel."

Chevron Earnings Off 6% in Quarter; Revenue Up

Chevron Corp., the nation's fifth-largest oil corporation, reported first-quarter earnings of $354 million, a decrease of 6% from the $378 million earned in the first quarter of 1984.

Total revenue for the quarter was $12.6 billion, up from $7.3 billion. The increase reflects the inclusion of Gulf Corp. revenue in 1985 results. Excluding Gulf, Chevron's revenue fell 5% from the 1984 quarter.

Chairman George M. Keller attributed the first-quarter earnings decline to Chevron's decreased crude production overseas and lower domestic natural gas production. However, he said that the inclusion of Gulf's earnings and the dramatic improvement in domestic gasoline prices at the end of the first quarter partially offset these negative effects.

Keller added: "Gulf contributed to our profits after taking into account the financing costs associated with the acquisition. This further confirms our judgment last year that the merger was a very positive move for the company."

Greyhound Profit Jumps 58% in First Quarter

Net income for Greyhound in the first quarter ended March 31 rose 58% to $19.1 million, compared to $12.1 million for the year-ago period, Chairman and Chief Executive John W. Teets said. Revenue for the first quarter totaled $528 million, compared to $504 million.

Teets said he was pleased with the first-quarter earnings, "in particular the improved results of Greyhound Lines." Although the intercity bus subsidiary reported a seasonal operating loss for the period, there was a $5-million operating improvement for the first three months.

In addition, sale-leasebacks of the Boston and Indianapolis terminals resulted in cash proceeds of $16.5 million and gains from the disposition of property of $6.9 million, bringing Greyhound Lines to an overall profit in the latest quarter.

The transportation group as a whole was up in the first quarter, including an excellent performance by Greyhound Lines of Canada, the chairman said.

The consumer products group reported net income up 9% for the period, exclusive of the earnings of Purex, acquired as of March 1. The financial group also reported a 9% gain in net income for the first three months.

Southland Corp. Net Plunges 93% in Quarter

The Dallas-based firm's earnings plunged 93% in the first quarter compared to a year ago, and it blamed depressed refining industry conditions and harsh weather that chilled business at its 7-Eleven stores.

Southland's net income was $1.0 million in the first quarter of 1985, compared to $14.3 million a year ago. Revenue slipped to $2.81 billion from $2.87 billion.

In addition to 7,500 7-Eleven stores in 43 states and Canada that account for 75% of its business, Southland also owns Citgo Petroleum and is one of the nation's largest processors of dairy products.

Southland Chairman John Thompson said "the most significant factor" in the decline was that Citgo had an operating loss in the latest quarter after a profit in the same period a year ago.

Despite the cold weather, Thompson said sales at 7-Eleven stores open at least a year grew by 3.9% for the quarter.

For detailed data and results of other companies, please see tables, Page 15.

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