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Universal reports increased first-quarter results

Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc., which has a location in Dunkirk, reported net sales for the first quarter of 2021 of $37.0 million, an increase of 18.2% from $31.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, although 36.7% lower than $58.5 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Sales of premium alloys in the first quarter of 2021 were $7.6 million, or 20.4% of sales, an increase of 26.6% from $6.0 million, or 19.1% of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2020, and down slightly from $7.7 million, or 13.1% of sales, in the first quarter of 2020.

Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Oates commented: “We expected gradual improvement in activity levels in 2021, but our first quarter results point to even better momentum in end market demand, accompanied by a healthy pace of order entry and backlog growth for Universal.

“With the exception of General Industrial, all of our end markets reported double-digit sequential sales growth in the quarter. In total, our first quarter sales increased 18% sequentially including nearly 27% higher premium alloy sales, driven by strong aerospace demand especially for defense, and 36% higher tool steel sales for industrial and automotive applications.

“In the aerospace end market, we saw easing of destocking in the supply chain, coupled with accelerated rates of air travel. The prospects for recovery in the commercial aerospace market in 2021 remain intact.

“We have continued to align spending to current forecasted revenue and operating levels while we control working capital. Semi-fixed spending at our production facilities and general and administrative costs are down considerably year-over-year, thanks to our cost reduction efforts.

“A major strategic initiative for us in 2021 is capital investment in our premium alloy production assets, including adding a vacuum arc remelt furnace and an 18-ton crucible to expand our capabilities and reduce costs. These projects are on schedule for commissioning by the end of the year.”

Mr. Oates concluded: “Amid continuing recovery from the COVID pandemic, we have started 2021 on a positive footing. With the continued dedication of our team, the support of our customers and our commitment to providing critical products to our markets, we are focused on making further progress during the course of the year.”

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