BlueScope Steel Swings to Profit in Second Half as Sales, Prices Increase

BlueScope Steel Ltd., Australia’s largest steelmaker, swung to profit in the second half and reinstated its dividend after sales increased.

Net income for the six months ended June 30 was A$154 million ($138 million), the Melbourne-based company said today in a statement. That compares with a loss of A$473 million a year ago and a A$141 million profit forecast by Credit Suisse Group AG.

BlueScope is benefitting from growth in Australia, its biggest market, and increased sales in Asia. Steel prices averaged 41 percent higher in the half than a year earlier.

“More than two thirds of the half year result was delivered in this (June) quarter, reflecting the culmination of the hard work done earlier in the year,” the company said. Lower costs and improved sales helped drive a stronger result, it said.

Hot rolled coil steel prices gained 12 percent in the first half and averaged $628 a metric ton compared with $447 a year earlier. BlueScope’s revenue in the second half was A$4.5 billion, up 10 percent on a year earlier.

It declared a 5 cent dividend, the first dividend since the December 2008 half.

The reinstatement of the dividend reflects “the medium-to- long-term outlook for BlueScope and the global steel industry and improved conditions in economies where we operate,” Paul O’Malley, BlueScope’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Keenan in Melbourne at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net

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