Nippon Steel's First-Half Profit Up 5.6%, Keeps outlook


Nippon Steel, the world's No. 2 steelmaker, posted a 5.6 percent rise in first-half profit as prices of sheet steel and shipbuilding plates rose, and stuck to its outlook for flat growth.

The company, a big contract-based supplier to Toyota Motor and other Japanese manufacturers, reported 284.01 billion yen (US$2.48 billion) in pretax recurring profit for the April-September first-half, up from 268.99 billion yen a year earlier.

The result was below an average forecast of 295 billion yen provided by three analysts to Reuters Estimates.

It stuck to its full-year pretax recurring profit forecast of 600 billion yen, up 0.4 percent. That compares with a mean forecast of 637.25 billion yen of 14 analysts.

Supplies of high-grade sheet steel and thick plates remain tight, allowing Japanese steelmakers to raise prices and output and absorb the impact of high raw material and freight costs.

Lower nickel and stainless steel prices earlier hit South Korean rival POSCO's earnings, but had limited impact on most Japanese top steel makers due to their limited outputs.

Shares in Nippon Steel had risen 16 percent this year as of Monday's close, in line with the steel and iron sub-index, which rose 14 percent.