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(2nd LD) POSCO Q1 net jumps 11 pct on demand, equity gains

2018/04/24 18:33

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SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- POSCO, the world's fifth-biggest steelmaker by output, said Tuesday its first-quarter net profit jumped 11 percent from a year earlier on rising demand and increased shareholding gains.

Net profit for the three months ending on March 31 rose to 1.084 trillion won (US$1 billion) from 976.9 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

"Rising demand for steel products buoyed the quarterly results. Increased equity gains from PT. Krakatau POSCO, an integrated steel mill in Indonesia, and overseas steel affiliates also helped," the company said.

Looking ahead, POSCO expects steel demand to remain robust for the rest of the year due to the ongoing restructuring in the Chinese steel industry and economic recovery in emerging markets, the statement said.

The steelmaker has revised up its sales target for the year to 63 trillion won from 61.9 trillion won set earlier this year. In 2017, sales rose 14 percent from the previous year to 60.6 trillion won.

In a conference call held after the release of the quarterly results, Chon Jungs-son, head of POSCO's corporate strategy and finance center, said the company will look at business opportunities if inter-Korean relations improve further, though it's too early to give any details on potential partnerships.

When the two Koreas enjoyed good relations, POSCO used anthracite from North Korean mines in its steel plants and considered several business ventures in the North, he said.

Meanwhile, to help four local steel pipe makers cope with reduced exports to the United States this year due to a decreased import quota, POSCO will work with those companies to seek alternative markets, Kim Gwang-soo, head of the steel business strategy office, said.

Operating profit rose 9 percent to 1.488 trillion won in the first quarter from 1.152 trillion won a year ago. Sales were up 5.2 percent to 15.862 trillion won from 15.597 trillion won during the same period, the company said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr

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