Saturday, February 3, 2018

Long Products Should Drive A Good 2018 For Nucor

These are good days to be a steel company. Even with the negative impact of higher scrap costs and import competition, revenue and margins are better than they’ve been in some time. For Nucor (NUE), it’s not just about riding the cycle (although the cycle is important), as the company has been continually invested in value-added capacity and executing tuck-in acquisitions to broaden its portfolio. With relatively healthy industrial markets and the prospect of protection from imports, 2018 is looking pretty good for Nucor and peers/rivals like Steel Dynamics (STLD), Gerdau (GGB), and Commercial Metals (CMC).

Price/valuation is a hang-up for me. While an 8x multiple on my 2018 EBITDA estimate would offer some upside (about 5%), that’s about as high as I’d go for the company. There are certainly opportunities for Nucor to outperform in 2018 and drive a higher fair value by virtue of a higher EBITDA estimate, but this isn’t my favorite steel name right now and that’s not surprising as up-cycles tend to favor lesser operators and Nucor remains among the best-run companies in the industry.

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Long Products Should Drive A Good 2018 For Nucor

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