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LATEST NEWS  Steel

March 22, 2005

Steelmaker posts first annual profit

LONDON

Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group PLC last week reported an annual net profit for the first time thanks to strong global demand led by China.

Corus, formed from the merger of British Steel and Dutch firm Hoogovens in 1999, said it made a net profit of 446 million pounds ($859 million U.S.) in the year to Jan. 1.

That compared with a net loss of 305 million pounds in the same period a year ago.

Earnings per share were 9.41 pence (18.13 cents U.S. or 13.51 euro) compared with a loss per share of 9.25 pence last year.

It was the first time Corus has reported a net profit since its formation six years ago, said spokeswoman Annanya Sarin.

Sales, including Corus’ share of joint ventures, rose 17 per cent to 9.63 billion pounds ($18.55 billion U.S.). Sales volume for steel was unchanged from 2003 at 21 million tonnes, but selling prices increased sharply thanks to rising global demand.

The company said it benefited from a strong period of global economic growth in 2004, led by the United States and China. It added that China accounted for 28 per cent of global steel demand and 26 per cent of global crude steel production.

Corus said production of crude steel was limited in 2004 by the tight supply of raw materials including iron ore, coal and coke, much of which had been diverted to feed the domestic Chinese industry.

The Associated Press

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