(Adds forecasts, analyst comment, stock price move)
July 23 Cliffs Natural Resources Inc,
facing off against an activist fund that wants to replace its
chief executive, reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss
on Wednesday because of weak commodity prices and a decline in
The Cleveland-based iron ore and metallurgical coal producer
slightly lowered its forecast for full-year sales and production
volume for U.S. iron ore to 22 million tons because of icy
winter weather, which hampered shipments. The new forecast is at
the lower end of a previous forecast of 22 million to 23 million
However, it slightly raised its outlook for iron ore sales
and production volumes in Eastern Canada and Asia.
The company also trimmed its coal sales and production
volume forecast to 7 million tons from between 7 million and 8
million tons because of the potential idling of its Pinnacle
mine in West Virginia.
Cliffs shares fell 2 percent in after-hours trade to $15.14.
Cliffs reported a net loss of $2 million, or 1 cent a share,
for the second quarter, compared with a profit of $133 million,
or 82 cents a share, in the quarter a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, Cliffs lost 16 per cents per
share, Citi analyst Brian Yu said in a note to clients.
That compared with a loss of 8 cents a share that analysts
had been expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue fell 26 percent in the quarter to $1.1 billion, on
lower prices for iron ore and metallurgical coal, as well as a
24 percent decrease in sales volume from the company's U.S. iron
Cliffs Chief Executive Gary Halverson said the company
continued to cut costs and reduce capital expenditures in
response to a "challenging business climate."
Cliffs has been targeted by U.S. hedge fund Casablanca
Capital ahead of its July 29 annual meeting, following several
quarters of weak earnings and share performance.
Casablanca, which owns 5.2 percent of Cliffs, wants to
replace a majority of Cliffs directors, sell assets and replace
the company's chief executive.
The company has made a series of concessions to Casablanca,
paring its slate of director nominees so that at least four of
Casablanca's candidates are likely to win seats, and promising
to elect a new chairman after the annual meeting.
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver and Allison Martell
in Toronto; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Steve Orlofsky)