THE world’s top steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, said today (7) that it boosted profit last year even though shipments dipped, before adding that it expects demand to rise this year.
The company’s net profit rose by 12.7 per cent to $5.1 billion.
While sales climbed 10.7 per cent to $76bn, that was largely due to an increase in steel prices as the company’s shipments dipped 1.6 per cent by volume.
Chief executive Lakshmi Mittal called 2018 “a year of positive momentum for ArcelorMittal” as it made a couple of acquisitions and regained its investment grade rating from credit agencies.
He noted the company also improved its profitability, with its operating earnings per tonne of steel rising to $107 from $82 in 2017.
“We expect further, moderate global steel demand growth this year,” added Mittal.
ArcelorMittal has made considerable efforts to reduce its debt in recent years, and the company plans to reduce it to less than $6bn from $10.2 at the end of December 2018.
ArcelorMittal shares slid 2.4 per cent in late morning trading in Amsterdam, while the exchange’s AEX index was up 0.1 per cent.