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Posts $638 Million Loss for Quarter, Plans to Eliminate 6,500 Jobs

January 29, 1992

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) _ Bethlehem Steel Corp. said today it lost $638 million in the fourth quarter and is starting a restructuring that will eliminate 6,500 jobs and put some operations up for sale.

The planned job cuts would reduce its current work force of 26,500 by 24.5 percent by the end of 1993, according to spokesman Art Roth.

The company said it will try to sell its Johnstown-based Bar, Rod and Wire Division and its Steelton-based trackwork fabrications operations.

If those divisions cannot be sold before current customer orders are filled, the operations will be shut down, the company said.

Bethlehem will also begin to market its coke oven operations in Lackawanna, N.Y., and will shut down its coke oven batteries in Sparrows Point, Md.

The company said it was eliminating its quarterly common stock dividend after Feb. 10.

The steelmaker said it lost $8.47 per share in the three months ended Dec. 31 in contrast to a loss of $516.8 million, or $6.91 a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 14.2 percent to $1.03 billion from $1.20 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

For the year, Bethlehem posted a loss of $767 million, or $10.41 per share, compared with a loss of $463.5 million, or $6.35 per share, for 1990.

Annual revenue fell 11.8 percent to $4.32 billion from $4.90 billion a year ago.

Bethlehem reduced its earnings by $575 million in the fourth quarter of 1991 to pay for the restructuring changes.

The sale of the Bar, Rod and Wire Division will eliminate 2,600 jobs from Bethlehem’s payroll. About 1,900 of those employees are in Johnstown. There are about 350 employees in each of the division’s plants in Lackawanna and Sparrows Point.

The sale of the trackwork operations in Steelton will eliminate 400 jobs from the Bethlehem payroll. The shutdown of the coke oven batteries in Sparrows Point eliminates another 400 jobs.

″We’ve been experiencing losses at these facilities for some time, and there is no reasonable prospect for their return to profitability,″ said Walter F. Williams, Bethlehem’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Another 800 jobs will be eliminated when Bethlehem completes its previously-announced sale of its coal operations.

The remaining jobs will be come from throughout the company, either through previously-announced reductions or a new early retirement incentive program.

Bethlehem said its inactive rail mill, located in Monessen, is not part of its restructuring plans and will be sold.

Williams said the poor economy makes it unlikely the company will post a profit for the first quarter of 1992. He predicted that 1992 domestic industry shipments will be about 80 million tons, only slightly ahead of the 79 million tons the company estimated it moved in 1991.

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