* Q4 adj EPS $0.31 vs est $0.30
* Revenue $348 mln vs est $363.4 mln
* Shares down 20 pct in morning trade
Feb 23 (Reuters) - GrafTech International Ltd’s quarterly revenue missed analysts’ expectations by a wide margin and the graphite electrodes maker warned of further sales declines, as lower steel production in Europe reduces demand for its products.
Shares of the company tumbled as much as 20 percent to $12.26 in morning trade, making the stock the top percentage loser on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company’s electrodes are used in electric arc furnaces to recycle scrap metal into steel, a method that accounts for about a third of global steel output.
Customers in Europe, which accounts for a third of GrafTech’s total revenue, reduced production levels, closed furnaces and cut jobs, hurting fourth quarter sales, the company said in a statement.
For 2012, GrafTech expects lower sales volume for graphite electrodes, which is manufactured by the industrial materials segment. The industrial business accounts for more than three quarters of the company’s revenue.
The company’s other key segment, the engineered solutions unit, also felt the slowdown in Europe and the effects of a prolonged slump in the solar industry.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 24 percent to $348 million. In comparison, analysts on average had expected revenue of $363.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company’s shares, which have gained 27 percent since touching a year-low in October, were trading down 14 percent at $13.36.