CANTON — A dip in sales didn't prevent TimkenSteel from posting a first quarter profit.
For the quarter that ended March 31, profits are $4.2 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.4 million, or 4 cents per share, during the 2018 first quarter. Sales were $371 million, down 2.5 percent from $380.8 million last year.
"As anticipated, our performance strengthened in the first quarter, with continued expansion in gross margin and increased net income compared with the same quarter last year. We achieved these results by executing a strategy to sell a richer mix of products, improve price and deliver on time," Tim Timken, chairman, chief executive officer and president, said in a press release.
The company reported ship tons were 260,900, down 13 percent from last year. The decline was anticipated, the company said, and occurred because of lower oil country billet shipments.
Despite the lower shipments, net sales benefited because of an improved product mix and better pricing, the company said. Raw material costs increased during the quarter.
The company expects second quarter shipments to be similar to the first quarter. Because of lower second quarter demand and production, the company will have an opportunity to move scheduled maintenance into the second quarter from the third quarter.
Through the rest of the year, TimkenSteel expects to continue to benefit from improved pricing and product mix. The company expects improved profitability as a result.
TimkenSteel announced its first quarter results after the stock market closed on Thursday. Shares closed at $9.82 down 16 cents on the day in average trading.