Bluescope narrows loss, eyes growth

Australia’s largest steel producer, Bluescope Steel, reported a lower net loss of A$1.044 billion ($1.09 billion) in the financial year 2012 ended June 30.

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It expects continued improvement in its financial performance towards breaking even during the first half of the financial year 2013.

“Our Australian businesses are expected to be Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) positive in FY2013, and globally we are now well positioned for growth,” Bluescope md and ceo Paul O’Malley was quoted as saying in an announcement on Tuesday August 21.

Bluescope reported a core loss of A$489 million for FY2012, compared with the A$687 million recorded in the red a year ago. Net loss after tax for FY2012 totalled A$1.044 billion compared with the A$1.054 billion net loss recorded a year ago.

The company attributed the lower losses to low steel prices and high Australian dollar.

Exports of flat products and coated products dropped from 2.7 million tonnes in 2011 to 1.5 million tonnes in 2012, down 33.3% year-on-year, due to the overhaul of its blast furnace in October 2011. Exports in the second half of FY2012 fell to 0.4 million tonnes, down 73.3% from that recorded in the first half.

Bluescope’s domestic sales in Australia were also influenced by a weak market.

The steel mill had filed an anti-dumping complaint to the Australian Customs in May 2012 to seek an investigation on imports from several countries. In June, probes into imports from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia were confirmed.

Bluescope is now structured into four main businesses comprising Bluescope Building Products; Bluescope Global Building Solutions; Bluescope Australia & New Zealand; and North Star Bluescope Steel, in the USA.

“Our Building Products business, across Asean and the USA, will be incorporated in the new $1.36 billion NS Bluescope Coated Products joint venture with Nippon Steel Corp. It will provide a stronger platform to capture growth in new market segments,” O’Malley said.