Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Earnings: Five Straight Quarters of Double-Digit Growth

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) reported higher profit for the second quarter as revenue showed growth. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is an international mining company that operates primarily in North America and Australia.

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Cliffs Natural Resources Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Second Quarter

Results: Net income for Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. rose to $407.7 million ($2.92 per share) vs. $260.7 million ($1.92 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 56.4% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 52.5% to $1.81 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: CLF fell short of the mean analyst estimate of $3.68 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.79 billion.

Quoting Management: Joseph A. Carrabba, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “During the quarter, we successfully completed the acquisition of Consolidated Thompson and are on track to quickly integrate the operations. Recently, we announced a third-phase expansion at Bloom Lake, which is expected to increase annual production capacity to 24 million tons by 2015 to 2016. In addition, Bloom Lake’s annualized ramp up to eight million tons and 16 million tons is on track to be completed by 2011 and 2013, respectively. Although we have operated Bloom Lake Mine for less than a quarter, its performance has been strong and we look forward to expanding our production profile in Eastern Canada.”

Key Stats:

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past five quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 98.8%, with the biggest boost coming in the second quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose more than threefold from the year earlier quarter.

Last quarter marked the fifth consecutive quarter of gross margins expanding as the company’s gross margin expanded 5.5 percentage points to 40.5% from the year earlier quarter. Over that span, margins have grown on average 21.1 percentage points per quarter on a year-over-year basis.

The company has now seen net income rise in three straight quarters. In the first quarter, net income rose more than fourfold and in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, the figure rose more than threefold.

The company fell short of forecasts after beating estimates in the previous two quarters. In the first quarter, it topped the mark by 86 cents, and in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, it was ahead by 67 cents.

Competitors to Watch: Vale (NYSE:VALE), ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT), Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. (AMEX:CLM), Anglo American plc (AAUKY), Great Northern Iron Ore Properties (NYSE:GNI), AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE:AKS), BHP Billiton plc (NYSE:BBL), BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE:BHP), United States Steel Corp. (NYSE:X), and Mesabi Trust (NYSE:MSB).

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(Source: Xignite Financials)