Stelco Inc. reported a firstquarter loss late yesterday as record production at its Lake Erie operations was offset by continued "significant losses" at its Hamilton Steel unit. The steelmaker said it lost $39-million in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $145-million in the fourth quarter of 2006. Stelco did not give per-share figures or year-overyear comparisons. Stelco said net sales rose to $609-million from $472-million in the quarter ended Dec. 31, as Lake Erie Steel hit a record monthly production following an expansion. At the same time, the company said its Hamilton Steel division continued to lose money. Chief executive Rodney Mott said that "a further review of its facilities and cost structure is underway." For the second quarter, Mr. Mott said improved operating results are expected thanks to strong production, shipping and "the apparent strength of the market." Stelco's shares have soared in recent weeks amid speculation that it could become the latest prey in a frenzy of takeovers of Canadian steel producers. The share jump followed news that Algoma Steel agreed to be bought by India's Essar Global.