Ryerson reduces spending, increases liquidity to combat downturn

Following a decline in business operations in the first quarter, US service centre chain Ryerson has taken measures to ensure the economic protection of the company as it moves into the second quarter, Kallanish reports

In an earnings conference last week, ceo Eddie Lehner revealed that Ryerson experienced a -25% decline in shipments for North America during the months of March and April. This was largely due to Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent actions taken by governments and organizations to combat the spread of the virus.

As a result, Ryerson has furloughed approximately -16% since mid-March, reduced annual capex by approximately $20 million, drew on credit facilities to increase its North American cash balance to $185.2m, and repurchased $54.6m in outstanding notes. These measures were made to increase liquidity in order to combat any unforeseen challenges the company may face.

“We’ve been staying in front of customers to meet their spot demands and the network of service centres we have has been very instrumental and very useful in providing what I’ll call low-risk solutions,” says Lehner.

In lieu of company guidance for the second quarter, Mike Burbach, president of Ryerson Northwest region, says the company is “…setting ourselves up to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to us and Eddie touched on it. With our network and with the inventory and capabilities we have, we’re able to leverage all the different things we have going on.”