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Higher Sales at ArcelorMittal Push Quarterly Profit to $2.72 Billion

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, reported a net profit of $2.72 billion for the second quarter as it sold more steel at higher prices to offset higher costs.

The company posted net profit of $1.82 billion for the same period a year earlier, based on the combined results of Mittal Steel and Arcelor before Mittal won a long takeover battle last July to form a steel giant with some 10% of global output.

Total sales for the three months ending June 30 were $27.22 billion, up from $22.43 billion in 2006.

Net profit came in above a forecast of $2.45 billion from eight analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires while sales also topped their prediction of $26.55 billion.

ArcelorMittal said it expected shipments to slow down slightly in the third quarter as customers in car manufacturing and construction take summer breaks. CEO Lakshmi Mittal said the he was expecting "a robust end to the year" as efforts continue to integrate the two companies.

Steel prices have risen this year as a recovering Europe and booming India and China up demand, but a U.S. slowdown coupled with surging steel exports from China could curb steelmakers' ability to increase prices further.

Mittal expects to formally wrap up its takeover of Arcelor later this year although the companies are already largely operating as one out of their new headquarters in Luxembourg.

Mittal's bid for Arcelor -- estimated at around 30 billion euros ($41 billion) -- has had a rocky road toward completion. U.S. regulators ordered Mittal to sell off one of its major American steel plants and the Brazilian market watchdog forced it to spend up to 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) to buy out Arcelor's Latin American steel units.

Chief Financial Officer Aditya Mittal said the company would announce by the end of the week who would be buying its Maryland steel plant, meeting a U.S. Department of Justice timetable. He declined to give any details on the Sparrows Point sale.

ArcelorMittal shares gained 1 percent to 46.14 euros ($63.24) in Amsterdam.

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