ArcelorMittal Reports $1 Billion 4Q Loss

Economic crisis in Europe a concern in 2012, says CEO.

ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steel maker, posted on Feb. 7 a net loss for the last quarter of 2011 but expected better results this year owing to its global presence and growing mining business.

The group reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $1 billion owing in large part to $1.3 billion in charges comprising taxes, asset devaluations and restructuring costs arising from the closure of unprofitable operations.

ArcelorMittal had posted a loss of $780 million in the same period of 2010.

"Looking ahead to 2012, the situation in Europe remains a live concern," Lakshmi N. Mittal, ArcelorMittal chairman and chief executive acknowledged in a statement.

"Despite the continued uncertainty in this market, however, we are seeing an improvement in sentiment compared with the fourth quarter," he added.

The group expected core operating profit, its benchmark measure, to be higher in the first half of 2012 than in the last six months of 2011, when it came in at $4.1 billion, the statement said.

Core profit would probably fall below the equivalent figure of $6 billion for the first half of 2011 however.

The results were expected to be underpinned by coal and iron mining output that was forecast to gain 10 percent this year.

ArcelorMittal shares jumped by 2.07% in morning trading in Amsterdam, where the AEX index of leading shares was essentially flat overall.

The steel giant had nonetheless reported a 22% drop in full-year 2011 profit to $2.3 billion, on sales that gained 20% to $94 billion.

Fourth-quarter sales were 8% higher at $22.5 billion.

Arcelor's full-year operating profit climbed by 18.7% to $10.1 billion, in line with analyst expectations.

It anticipated savings of $800 million this year from cost cutting measures, and "the company continues to benefit from its diverse geographic presence and growing mining business," the statement said.

Arcelor planned to cut debt of $22.5 billion via the sale of non-strategic assets.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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