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ArcelorMittal turns profit after 3 quarter losses

ArcelorMittal turns profit after 3 quarter losses

ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steel maker, on Wednesday posted a $903 million profit in the third quarter, its first after three consecutive quarterly losses.
ArcelorMittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said the July-September period showed the first signs of recovery in the steel market after the global recession caused demand to plunge for steel used to make cars, machinery and buildings.
"We should continue to see further gradual improvement through 2010, although the operating environment remains challenging," Mittal warned.
Third quarter profit was down 76 percent from the same period last year when the company made $3.82 billion. Sales were $16.18 billion, down more than half from $35.19 billion a year ago _ and only a slight increase on $15.17 billion in the second quarter.
The company says it expects higher shipments and steel prices in the fourth quarter.
It is slowly restarting steel mills and furnaces that it stilled late last year. It was running at only 50 percent capacity in the second quarter, increasing that to 61 percent in the third quarter. It now plans to take that up to 70 percent in the final three months of 2009.
ArcelorMittal warned that sales are still "substantially lower" than a year ago and are less profitable because the economic crisis has also triggered a steep fall in selling prices.
Its European flat carbon and global stainless steel and services divisions continued to report a loss in the third quarter.
The company said it has met a target to make $2.2 billion in longer-term savings this year, which included a voluntary redundancy program for workers.
It has also reduced its net debt to $21.6 billion _ down $10.9 billion from a year ago. Much of that debt was built up from an ambitious expansion program in emerging nations. It said it now planned to reinitiate growth projects in some key emerging markets.


Updated : 2021-02-25 04:36 GMT+08:00