December 17, 2014 / 10:12 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-AK Steel expects shipments to jump in fourth quarter

(Adds details, background, share price)

Dec 17 (Reuters) - AK Steel Holding Corp said it expects shipments to jump 37 percent to 2 million tons in the current quarter from the previous quarter, helped by acquisitions and strong demand from the auto industry.

The company’s shares were up 7 percent at $5.96 in after-market trading after closing up 6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of larger rivals United States Steel Corp and Nucor Corp also rose slightly in extended trading.

AK Steel said it expects to benefit from substantially lower costs for iron ore, carbon scrap and energy in the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31 compared with the third quarter.

The company had said last month it expected its results in the quarter to be hurt by a planned outage at its Ashland Works blast furnace.

On Wednesday, however, it said it expects to report higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, despite outage-related costs of $31 million.

“The company believes that the reline of the blast furnace hearth will position it well to provide stable blast furnace operations in the future by allowing the company to avoid the unplanned disruptions that have occurred throughout 2014,” AK Steel said.

Up to Wednesday’s close, the company’s shares had fallen about 10 percent in the past 52 weeks, slightly more than the 7 percent fall posted by the S&P 500 steel index. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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