Q4 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/14/2014

Operator: Good morning. My name is Ben and I'm your conference facilitator today. I'd like to welcome everyone to Cliffs Natural Resources 2013 Fourth Quarter Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session.

At this time, I would like to introduce Jessica Moran, Director Investor Relations. Ms. Moran?

Jessica Moran - Director IR: Thanks, Ben. I'd like to welcome everyone to this morning's call. Before I turn the call over, let me remind you that certain comments made on today's call will include projected statements that are intended to be made as forward-looking within the Safe Harbor protections of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Although the Company believes that its forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Important factors that could cause results to differ materially are set forth in reports in Forms 10-K and 10-Q and news releases filed with the SEC, which are available on our website.

Today's conference call is also available and being broadcast at cliffsnaturalresources.com. At the conclusion of the call, it will be archived on the website and available for replay. We will also discuss our results excluding certain special items, which is a non-GAAP financial measure. A reconciliation for Regulation G purposes can be found in our earnings release, which is posted on our website at cliffsnaturalresources.com.

Joining me today are President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Halverson; Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Terry Paradie; and Executive Vice President External Affairs and President, Global Commercial Kelly Tompkins.

At this time, it is my pleasure to introduce Gary, who will discuss the fourth quarter results.

Gary B. Halverson - President and CEO: Thank you, Jess, and thanks to everyone listening on today's call. I'm joining Cliffs at a time when strategic direction, financial discipline and strong decisive leadership needs to be implemented quickly. On my second day on the job, I made a decision to indefinitely suspend the Chromite project, and as a result, we are reducing our 2014 Chromite spending by $45 million. Also not only do we put the immediate breaks on capital spending in the last two months of the year, but we are cutting our 2014 spending, capital spending by over 50%. We've also idled underperforming assets, paid down debts, increased liquidity and set further cost reduction targets in our 2014 SG&A and exploration expenses.

I know full well the issues that are of most concern to our investors and I'm fully committed to finding the most value enhancing solutions for shareholders quickly. My first three months have also given me a good perspective on the opportunities and challenges we faced in the near and longer-term. I visited all of our sites and had the chance to see the mines first-hand, review the financial performance of each business unit and most importantly meet the talented people running our operations.

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