ArcelorMittal Q3 profit higher than expected, Lakshmi Mittal optimistic about 2014 prospects

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'Although operating conditions remain challenging, we are cautiously optimistic about prospects for 2014,' says ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal. 'Although operating conditions remain challenging, we are cautiously optimistic about prospects for 2014,' says ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal.
SummaryWorld's largest steelmaker's profit boosted by increasing iron ore shipments and cost savings.

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, reported higher profit than expected in the third quarter, boosted by increasing iron ore shipments and cost savings, and declared it was through the bottom of the cycle.

The ArcelorMittal which makes some 6-7 per cent of global steel and is double the size of its nearest rival, said core profit (EBITDA) in the normally weaker second half would be at least equal to that of the first.

It said an improvement in underlying profitability this year was driven by a 1-2 per cent increase in steel shipments, a 20 per cent rise in iron ore shipments sold at market prices and gains from its variety of cost saving plans.

"Although operating conditions remain challenging, as economic indicators are improving we are cautiously optimistic about prospects for 2014," Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal said in a statement.

Core profit in the third quarter came in at $1.71 billion, an 18.5 per cent increase from a year earlier and marginally higher than the traditionally stronger second quarter. The average expectation in a Reuters poll of 9 analysts was $1.56 billion.

ArcelorMittal did make an overall net loss, of $193 million, for a fifth consecutive quarter.

The company repeated its forecast that core profit for the whole of 2013 would be greater than $6.5 billion, with net debt decreasing to about $17 billion from $17.8 billion at the end of the third quarter.

ArcelorMittal forecast that global apparent steel consumption, which includes changes to inventories, would rise by about 3.5 per cent this year. It had previously forecast a 3 per cent increase.

The change was due to a revision of its growth forecast for China, the world's largest steel producer and consumer, with expansion of 6.5-7.5 per cent now seen, from 4.5-5.5 per cent before.

However, it also trimmed its forecast for U.S. steel consumption to between flat and a 1 per cent decline, from between flat and 1 per cent growth before.

The company produces some 44 per cent of its crude steel in Europe and 39 per cent in the Americas.

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