Nucor takes a minimillist approach to succeeding in the steel industry. At its various minimills, Nucor produces hot- and cold-rolled steel, steel joists, and metal buildings. It has the capacity to produce more than 26 million tons of steel per year. North America's largest recycler of scrap metal, it produces steel by melting scrap in electric arc furnaces. Most of its products are sold to steel service centers, manufacturers, and fabricators. Subsidiary Harris Steel fabricates rebar for highways and bridges and other construction projects. Its David J. Joseph Company unit processes and brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron, hot briquetted iron, and direct reduced iron (DRI).
Nucor operates in three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. Its Steel Mills segment produces sheet steel, plate steel, structural steel, and bar steel. The Steel Products segment makes steel joists and joist girders, steel deck, fabricated concrete reinforcing steel, cold finished steel, steel fasteners, and other products. Its Raw Materials segment produces DRI; brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron, and hot briquetted iron; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal.
Nucor increased its revenues in 2011 by 26%, to $20 billion, compared with $15.8 billion in 2010. Driving the increase was a hike of 21% in average sales price per ton and a 5% jump in total tons shipped to outside customers. On the strength of the company's sales and investments, earnings also rose more than fivefold over the previous year, reaching $778 million in 2011 from $134 million in 2010.
Nucor has dominated the minimill industry for more than two decades, but competitors in the sector are increasing. The company continues to expand its steel mills, add new facilities, and pursue a program of rapid external growth. Its organic growth strategies include optimizing existing operations and developing projects that capitalize on new technologies and opportunities in niche markets. The company also seeks acquisitions of companies complementary to its operations and international growth through joint ventures. A key part of its strategy is continuing to invest during downturn periods.
In 2011 it poured about $10 billion into investments and continuous improvement initiatives, which included construction on an ironmaking facility in Louisiana, commissioning a heat treating plant at its plate mill in North Carolina, ravamping a finishing rolling mill for a steel beam plant in Italy, and completing four acquisitions through its David J. Joseph (DJJ) subsidiary.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Continuing its strategy for key acquisitions, in 2012 Nucor acquired New Jersey-based Skyline Steel and its subsidiaries from ArcelorMittal for about $605 million. Skyline, which has served as a distributor of Nucor's products for more than 20 years, will help Nucor's growth in steel piling and foundation products. Steel sheet piles are long structural sections having a vertical interlocking system that creates a wall. Skyline's flagship products include hot-rolled and cold-formed sheet piles and pipe piling. A steel foundation distributor in North America, Skyline serves industries that include marine construction, bridge and highway construction, heavy civil construction, and underground commercial parking.
In 2011 Nucor sold its NuPro Steel subsidiary to Steel Technologies, its joint venture with Mitsui & Co. NuPro produces flat-rolled steel at its plant in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Nucor also announced that Steel Technologies would build a steel processing plant in Mexico to serve Japanese electronics and auto companies moving into the region.
In early 2011, Nucor and joint venture partners Rio Tinto Group, Mitsubishi, and Shougang Corp. permanently closed the high-intensity smelt (hismelt) steel plant in Kwinana, Western Australia. Nucor had a 25% stake in the joint venture that was terminated. – less