The company's sales were $585 million for the third quarter of 2020, which was 3% lower than the second quarter of 2020 and 38% lower than the third quarter of 2019. Sequentially, the downstream and industrial and the gas utilities sectors each experienced an increase in sales while the upstream production and the midstream pipeline sectors each experienced a decline.
As compared to the third quarter of 2019, the decrease was across all sectors and segments as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lower commodity prices significantly reduced customer spending.
Net loss attributable to common stockholders for the third quarter of 2020 was $(3) million, or $(0.04) per diluted share, as compared to the third quarter of 2019 net income of $15 million, or $0.18 per diluted share. Adjusted net loss attributable to common stockholders for the third quarter of 2020 was $(8) million, or $(0.10) per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $17 million, or $0.21 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2019.
Andrew R. Lane, MRC Global's president and chief executive officer stated, "The resiliency of our business model, which focuses on diversified sectors, was evident this quarter. Two of our sectors, gas utilities and downstream and industrial, which make-up 68% of our third quarter revenue, were both up sequentially. As a result, total revenue was down only 3% sequentially this quarter, better than expectations. In September, e-commerce revenue as a percentage of North America revenue reached 48%, an all-time high for our company as we continue to invest in this technology platform. We continue to focus on managing the business through these difficult market conditions by aggressively reducing costs, generating cash and reducing debt.
"We are on-track to exceed all the goals we initially laid out earlier in the year. In the first nine months, we generated $178 million of cash from operations and reduced net debt by $150 million to a current balance of $369 million. For the full year, we expect to generate cash flow from operations greater than $220 million and end the year with a net debt balance less than $300 million, as a result of the additional cash generated in the fourth quarter and sales proceeds related to recent real estate transactions. This quarter we closed or consolidated 9 more facilities for a total of 22 this year with plans to close 6 more in the fourth quarter for a total of 28 in 2020. We also expect to achieve over $110 million of normalized cost savings in 2020 as compared to 2019, with approximately two-thirds of these cost savings being structural in nature, positioning the company to take advantage of the eventual market recovery," Mr. Lane added.
MRC Global's third quarter 2020 gross profit was $114 million, or 19.5% of sales as compared to the third quarter of 2019 gross profit of $174 million, or 18.5% of sales. Gross profit for the third quarter of 2020 and 2019 reflects income of $11 million and $2 million, respectively, in cost of sales relating to the use of the last-in, first out (LIFO) method of inventory cost accounting. Adjusted gross profit, which excludes the impact of LIFO, for the third quarter of 2020 was $115 million or 19.7% of revenue.
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were $100 million, or 17.1% of sales, for the third quarter of 2020 compared to $137 million, or 14.5% of sales, for the same period of 2019. Adjusted SG&A of $97 million for the third quarter of 2020 excludes the net impact of severance and restructuring charges of $5 million and the recovery of a $2 million supplier bad debt previously written off.
Income tax expense was $5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2020 as compared to $8 million for the three months ended September 30, 2019. The effective tax rates were 63% and 28% for the three months ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The company's rates generally differ from the U.S. federal statutory rate of 21% as a result of state income taxes and differing foreign income tax rates. The effective tax rate for three months ended September 30, 2020 was higher primarily due to losses in foreign jurisdictions with no corresponding tax benefit and the reversal of a current year net operating loss benefit recognized in a prior quarter but no longer expected to be realized.
Find the full report and sales by segment here.