ArcelorMittal sees 2014 profit rise as Europe finally grows

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, forecast higher profits in the year ahead due to increased steel and iron ore shipments as Europe ends two years of decline.

The company, which makes 6-7 percent of the world's steel and is a broad gauge for the health of global manufacturing, said global steel consumption should increase by between 3.5 and 4 percent in 2014 from about 3.5 percent last year.

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Martin Divisek | Bloomberg via Getty Images

The steelmaker forecast a slowdown in consumption growth in China and Brazil, but saw a modest improvement of 1.5-2.5 percent in the European Union after declines in 2012 and 2013.

Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal said in a statement that the Luxembourg-based company was cautiously optimistic about its 2014 prospects.

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Steel: Why you should favor ArcelorMittal
Steel: Why you should favor ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal, more than double the size of its nearest rival, reported fourth-quarter core profit (EBITDA) of $1.91 billion, higher than the average $1.80 billion average expectation in a Reuters poll of brokers.

ArcelorMittal had said its core profit (EBITDA) in 2013 would be greater than $6.5 billion. In fact the figure came in at $6.89 billion.

The company said that would rise to $8 billion in 2014, in line with the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S mean estimate for 2014 of $8.1 billion.

It said this was based on a 3 percent increase in steel shipments, a 15 percent rise in shipments of iron ore, average ore prices in line with the market consensus and a moderate increase in steel margins.