Usiminas Tops Steelmakers on Price-Increase Reports

Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA rose the most among major global steelmakers and headed to its biggest two-day gain in two months after Banco Santander SA reported that the Brazilian company is set to boost prices.

Usiminas, as the Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based company is known, rose 1.6 percent to 10.03 reais at 11:24 a.m. in Sao Paulo, extending its two-day gain to 8.7 percent, the most since Dec. 19. It rose as much as 3.4 percent earlier. It was the biggest gain among 15 global peers tracked by Bloomberg.

Usiminas is set to raise prices for some steel products by between 6 percent and 12 percent, Santander analysts Felipe Reis and Alex Sciacio said in a note to clients dated today. The increase may boost the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year by about 85 million reais ($42.9 million), they said.

“We have confirmed with steel distributors that Usiminas is increasing prices to distribution clients,” the analysts wrote in the report. “We view this news favorably.”

Usiminas said in an e-mailed response to questions that it doesn’t comment on its pricing policy.

Usiminas posted Feb. 18 a fourth-quarter net loss of 323.8 million reais, more than twice the loss estimated by analysts, as costs of products sold rose faster than sales.

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 Feb. 19 during an earnings conference call. That would be the second price increase for clients since July, he said at the time.

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