Rise in steel prices help ArcelorMittal boost profit

Paris (AFP) –


Global steel giant ArcelorMittal on Friday said its profits jumped in the first quarter as the worldwide market for steel improved, while it predicted solid results for the remainder of the year.

ArcelorMittal said in a statement its net profit had jumped in the first three months of 2018 to $1.2 billion, a 19 percent year-on-year rise.

The company's sales rose 19.3 percent to $19.2 billion, buoyed by a rise in the global price of steel and iron ore.

"The improvement in global steel market dynamics has continued into 2018, supporting an encouraging financial performance in the first quarter," said CEO Lakshmi Mittal.

"The outlook for 2018 has strengthened as the year has progressed, with the combination of growing demand and supply-side reform driving higher capacity utilisation rates and healthy steel spreads globally," he added.

Investors welcomed the news, pushing ArcelorMittal's share price up 2.3 percent in midday trading on the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Analysts at ING Research called it a "strong set of results" from the steelmaker.

Mike van Dulken and Artjom Hatsaturjants at Accendo Markets meanwhile wrote that ArcelorMittal's better-than-expected result pointed to "strong demand for base metals".