Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF) today announced the following updates on its latest commercial and operational developments.
The Company affirmed that, with a large portion of its fixed price contractual volumes already renewed in its most recent negotiating cycles, Cliffs will achieve higher annual fixed prices for steel in the calendar year 2023 compared to 2022. These improved annual fixed prices are independent of the Company's recently announced price increases on spot steel sales.
Specifically, with higher sales volumes and a similar mix of hot rolled, cold rolled and coated products, the Company expects from its direct carbon steel automotive customers an average selling price of approximately $1,400 per net ton in 2023, compared to an expected full-year 2022 price of approximately $1,300 per net ton. Direct carbon automotive sales represent Cliffs' largest end market, are performed entirely on a fixed price basis, and are not influenced by spot prices.
Similarly, the Company has also achieved significantly higher contractual fixed prices for its grain-oriented electrical steels for 2023 compared to 2022, as well as meaningful increases in fixed base prices for its non-oriented electrical steel and stainless steel products, before surcharge impacts.
Fixed-price contracts are expected to represent 40-45% of the Company's steel volumes sold in 2023, and over 50% of total steel revenue under the current futures curve for U.S. HRC.
Separately, as a result of lower input costs and normalized repair and maintenance expenses, Cliffs also expects significantly lower Steelmaking unit costs in 2023 compared to 2022.
About Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. Founded in 1847 as a mine operator, Cliffs also is the largest manufacturer of iron ore pellets in North America. The Company is vertically integrated from mined raw materials, direct reduced iron, and ferrous scrap to primary steelmaking and downstream finishing, stamping, tooling, and tubing. We are the largest supplier of steel to the automotive industry in North America and serve a diverse range of other markets due to our comprehensive offering of flat-rolled steel products. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland-Cliffs employs approximately 27,000 people across its operations in the United States and Canada.
This release contains statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. All statements other than historical facts, including, without limitation, statements regarding our current expectations, estimates and projections about our industry or our businesses, are forward-looking statements. We caution investors that any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results and future trends to differ materially from those matters expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Among the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those described in forward-looking statements are the following: continued volatility of steel, iron ore and scrap metal market prices, which directly and indirectly impact the prices of the products that we sell to our customers; uncertainties associated with the highly competitive and cyclical steel industry and our reliance on the demand for steel from the automotive industry, which has been experiencing a trend toward light weighting and supply chain disruptions, such as the semiconductor shortage, that could result in lower steel volumes being consumed; potential weaknesses and uncertainties in global economic conditions, excess global steelmaking capacity, oversupply of iron ore, prevalence of steel imports and reduced market demand, including as a result of inflationary pressures, the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts or otherwise; severe financial hardship, bankruptcy, temporary or permanent shutdowns or operational challenges, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise, of one or more of our major customers, including customers in the automotive market, key suppliers or contractors, which, among other adverse effects, could disrupt our operations or lead to reduced demand for our products, increased difficulty collecting receivables, and customers and/or suppliers asserting force majeure or other reasons for not performing their contractual obligations to us; disruptions to our operations relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the heightened risk that a significant portion of our workforce or on-site contractors may suffer illness or otherwise be unable to perform their ordinary work functions; risks related to U.S. government actions with respect to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (as amended by the Trade Act of 1974), the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and/or other trade agreements, tariffs, treaties or policies, as well as the uncertainty of obtaining and maintaining effective antidumping and countervailing duty orders to counteract the harmful effects of unfairly traded imports; impacts of existing and increasing governmental regulation, including potential environmental regulations relating to climate change and carbon emissions, and related costs and liabilities, including failure to receive or maintain required operating and environmental permits, approvals, modifications or other authorizations of, or from, any governmental or regulatory authority and costs related to implementing improvements to ensure compliance with regulatory changes, including potential financial assurance requirements; potential impacts to the environment or exposure to hazardous substances resulting from our operations; our ability to maintain adequate liquidity, our level of indebtedness and the availability of capital could limit our financial flexibility and cash flow necessary to fund working capital, planned capital expenditures, acquisitions, and other general corporate purposes or ongoing needs of our business; our ability to reduce our indebtedness or return capital to shareholders within the currently expected timeframes or at all; adverse changes in credit ratings, interest rates, foreign currency rates and tax laws, including adverse impacts as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022; the outcome of, and costs incurred in connection with, lawsuits, claims, arbitrations or governmental proceedings relating to commercial and business disputes, environmental matters, government investigations, occupational or personal injury claims, property damage, labor and employment matters, or suits involving legacy operations and other matters; uncertain cost or availability of critical manufacturing equipment and spare parts; supply chain disruptions or changes in the cost, quality or availability of energy sources, including electricity, natural gas and diesel fuel, or critical raw materials and supplies, including iron ore, industrial gases, graphite electrodes, scrap metal, chrome, zinc, coke and metallurgical coal; problems or disruptions associated with transporting products to our customers, moving manufacturing inputs or products internally among our facilities, or suppliers transporting raw materials to us; uncertainties associated with natural or human-caused disasters, adverse weather conditions, unanticipated geological conditions, critical equipment failures, infectious disease outbreaks, tailings dam failures and other unexpected events; cybersecurity incidents relating to, disruptions in, or failures of, information technology systems that are managed by us or third parties that host or have access to our data or systems, including the loss, theft or corruption of sensitive or essential business or personal information and the inability to access or control systems; liabilities and costs arising in connection with any business decisions to temporarily or indefinitely idle or permanently close an operating facility or mine, which could adversely impact the carrying value of associated assets and give rise to impairment charges or closure and reclamation obligations, as well as uncertainties associated with restarting any previously idled operating facility or mine; our ability to realize the anticipated synergies and benefits of our recent acquisition transactions and to successfully integrate the acquired businesses into our existing businesses, including uncertainties associated with maintaining relationships with customers, vendors and employees and known and unknown liabilities we assumed in connection with the acquisitions; our level of self-insurance and our ability to obtain sufficient third-party insurance to adequately cover potential adverse events and business risks; challenges to maintaining our social license to operate with our stakeholders, including the impacts of our operations on local communities, reputational impacts of operating in a carbon-intensive industry that produces greenhouse gas emissions, and our ability to foster a consistent operational and safety track record; our ability to successfully identify and consummate any strategic capital investments or development projects, cost-effectively achieve planned production rates or levels, and diversify our product mix and add new customers; our actual economic mineral reserves or reductions in current mineral reserve estimates, and any title defect or loss of any lease, license, easement or other possessory interest for any mining property; availability of workers to fill critical operational positions and potential labor shortages caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise, as well as our ability to attract, hire, develop and retain key personnel; our ability to maintain satisfactory labor relations with unions and employees; unanticipated or higher costs associated with pension and OPEB obligations resulting from changes in the value of plan assets or contribution increases required for unfunded obligations; the amount and timing of any repurchases of our common shares; and potential significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting.
For additional factors affecting the business of Cliffs, refer to Part I - Item 1A. Risk Factors of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, and other filings with the SEC.
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