Arcelor predicts rise in core revenue after 2010 slump

 
City A.M. Reporter
ARCELORMITTAL, the world’s largest steelmaker, has forecast a faster than expected recovery in demand and prices at the start of 2011 after a margin squeeze in the fourth quarter.

The Luxembourg-based company, which makes six to seven per cent of the world’s steel, said yesterday core profit would improve in the first quarter by more than the market consensus, following an unexpected net loss in the final three months of 2010.

Finance chief Aditya Mittal said ArcelorMittal was seeing a strong recovery in the US, moderate growth in China and restocking in Europe even though end-user demand was barely increasing there.

Mittal said the company expected 2011 to be a better year than 2010 and would raise capital expenditure by more than 50 per cent this year.

He said the second quarter should be stronger than the first, when ArcelorMittal’s furnaces would run at 76 per cent of capacity, compared with 69 per cent at the end of 2010.

ArcelorMittal, whose production is more than double that of its nearest rival, said it expected core profit to rise to between $2bn (£1.2bn) and $2.5bn in the first quarter after a slump to $1.85bn in the final quarter of 2010.