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China Steel Swings to Fourth-Quarter Loss After Cutting Output

China Steel Corp., Taiwan’s largest steelmaker, swung to a loss in the fourth quarter as weak demand forced it to cut production.

The loss of NT$573 million ($19 million) for the three months ended Dec.31 compared with profit of NT$4.53 billion a year earlier, according to figures derived from full-year earnings released today by the Kaohsiung-based company. That missed the NT$638 million average estimate of seven analysts in a survey compiled by Bloomberg.

China Steel (2002) joins steel mill Posco in reporting lower earnings after the debt crisis in Europe curbed global economic growth and demand for the metal. The Taiwan-based mill cut output by about 10 percent in 2011, as the island’s economic growth slowed to 4.04 percent from 10.72 percent in 2010.

Full-year net income was NT$19.5 billion, the Taiwanese company said today in a statement. That was 48 percent lower than NT$37.6 billion reported for the previous year.

China Steel climbed 0.3 percent to NT$30.05 in Taipei trading at the close and before the announcement. The stock has risen 4.3 percent this year, compared with the 13 percent gain in the benchmark Taiex index.

Investors will be paid a cash dividend of NT$1.01 share and a stock dividend of 15 shares for every 1,000 shares held by investors, the company said today.

Output totaled 8.76 million metric tons last year, the China Steel said in an e-mailed statement Jan. 17. That compared with 9.72 million tons a year earlier.

Consolidated net income of Posco, the world’s third-largest steelmaker, fell to 3.7 trillion won ($3.3 billion) in the year ended Dec. 31 from 4.19 trillion won a year earlier, the Pohang, South Korea-based company said in a regulatory filing Feb. 3.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yu-Huay Sun in Taipei at ysun7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net; Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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