Usiminas Gains After CEO Says in Talks to Sell Unit: Rio Mover

Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, the Brazilian steelmaker that posted losses in every quarter of 2012, gained after saying it’s in talks to sell its automotive unit.

Usiminas, as the Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based company is known, rose 1.3 percent to 9.93 reais at 1:51 p.m. in Sao Paulo, reversing a fall earlier of as much as 1.5 percent. The stock traded at 69 percent of the three-month daily average volume, according to Bloomberg data.

The company is aiming to reach an agreement to sell its Automotiva Usiminas unit, which produces stamped steel parts for the auto industry, in the first half of the year, Chief Executive Officer Julian Eguren told investors during a conference call today.

“We have an ongoing process,” he said. “The management expects to realize the sale of some of the non-core assets in the first half.”

Usiminas, which boosted steel prices to distributors by an average 5 percent in January, is working to extend the increases to its industrial customers by April, Sergio Leite, the company’s commercial vice president, said today during the same call. That would be the second steel price increase for the company’s clients since July, he said.

Usiminas posted late yesterday a fourth-quarter net loss of 323.8 million reais ($165.5 million), more than twice the loss estimate excluding some items of 122.8 million reais, the average of six analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The quarterly loss was the fourth consecutive for the company and the biggest annual since at least 1990, according to Bloomberg data.