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POSCO Posts Sharp Cut in 2009 Earnings

World's fourth largest steelmaker saw profits fall 28.7%

South Korea's POSCO, on Jan. 14 reported a sharp drop in earnings last year as it was hit by the global economic crisis.

Net profit fell 28.7% from a year earlier to 3.17 trillion won (US$2.82 billion.)

Operating profit plunged 51.9% to 3.15 trillion won while sales fell 12% to 26.95 trillion won.

POSCO said net profit rose to 1.28 trillion won in the fourth quarter of last year from 721 billion won a year earlier, due to decreased costs and rising demand as the effects of the downturn wore off.

Fourth-quarter sales fell 12.4% from a year earlier to 8.31 trillion won, while operating profit rose 13.5% to 1.4 trillion won.

Production last year fell 10.9% from 2008 to 29.53 million tons. POSCO has set its annual production target at 34.4 million tons this year.

The company said its investment for 2010 would hit a record high of 9.3 trillion won.

It said it is considering acquiring a 15% stake in Australia's Roy Hill mine as part of an effort to secure a stable supply of raw materials.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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