Usiminas Sees Return to Profit as Brazilian Sales Increase

Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, Brazil’s second-largest steelmaker by output, expects to resume profits after six straight quarters of net losses as it boosts prices and shipments of the alloy.

Usiminas, as the Belo Horizonte-based company is known, is “very close” to turning a profit again, Chief Financial Officer Ronald Seckelmann said in a meeting with investors in Sao Paulo today. Steel sales volumes in Latin America’s largest economy are likely to grow more than 5 percent this year, above the industry average, Sales Vice-President Sergio Leite said.

Brazilian steelmakers are raising prices as a 18 percent slump in the real in six months, the worst performance of 16 major currencies, reduces the competitiveness of imports. Usiminas, the largest steel supplier to Brazil’s auto industry, posted an adjusted second-quarter loss of 59.5 million reais ($25 million), less than half the average of five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Usiminas is not interested “in principle” in buying a stake in MMX Mineracao & Metalicos SA, the iron-ore producer that former billionaire Eike Batista is seeking to sell, Seckelmann said. The company’s MRS Logistica SA railway joint venture didn’t make any offer for MMX, he said, denying a report by newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.

Usiminas lost 0.6 percent to 10.19 reais at the close in Sao Paulo, the lowest since Aug. 15. MMX gained 1.3 percent.

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