Additional discussion of CLF, its competitors, and the
industries in which it operates may be found on the board,
Natural Resources / The Global Demographic Tailwind.
CLF Investor Relations
March 15, 2017 Dear Fellow Shareholder,
2016 is the year the turnaround of Cliffs Natural Resources was completed. That was done despite significant challenges in the international iron ore market and in the domestic steel industry. The strategic way implemented since August 2014 has proven itself very effective, and there is ample evidence that we are moving forward on the course we set two years ago.
Our financial progress in 2016 has enabled us to improve our competitiveness and enhance our ability to deliver value for our shareholders. Through several well-timed liability management transactions, we reduced principal debt outstanding by nearly $640 million dollars, just by pairing our conviction in our bright future with the opportunity to buy back bondsat deep discounts. Even more important, throughout 2016 our focus on cost reduction and operating efficiencies across our operations drove great operational results for the year, and that supported all the rest. While there is still work to do, we ended the year with strong cash flow. In summary, we delivered an excellent year for Cliffs in 2016 and laid a strong foundation to take full advantage of a healthier market environment for iron ore and steel in 2017.
At this time, I would like to thank each one of the Cliffs’ shareholders that stayed with us through the bad times and in to the good times. Our CLF shares appreciated 432% in 2016, which was the second highest gain among the more than 3,000 companies listed on the NYSE in 2016. CLF was also the best performing stock among all Metals and Mining companies for the year. Last but not least, we outperformed every company in the S&P 500. Overall, Cliffs’ shares had their best performing year in our 56-year history on the NYSE.
2017 marks Cliffs’ 170 th year as a company. The significance of this milestone cannot be over-emphasized. How many U.S. companies can state that they have been instrumental in building and shaping our society since 1847? Not many. Today as a stronger company, we are well positioned to reap the benefits of our strategy implemented over the past two years.
As stewards of the company and its assets, we are committed to acting in the best interests of all Cliffs’ shareholders. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, our fellow shareholders, for your support as we took the bold steps necessary in pursuit of our strategy. We know we have more work to do. I am grateful for your far-sighted investment in our great company and continued trust in Cliffs.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.