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China Steel's first quarter net profit down over 10%

TAIPEI -- China Steel Corp. (中國鋼鐵), Taiwan's largest steel supplier, said Tuesday that its pretax profit for the first quarter fell more than 10 percent from a year earlier largely because of a year-on-year decline in product prices.

In a statement, China Steel said its pretax profit on a consolidated basis for the three-month period fell 10.67 percent from a year earlier to NT$5.07 billion (US$168 million), while its earnings per share before tax dropped to NT$0.32 from NT$0.37.

The company had operating income of NT$4.73 billion in the quarter, down 20.03 percent from a year earlier, while its consolidated sales for the three months totaled NT$92.42 billion, up 4.46 percent from a year earlier.

Despite the weak first quarter earnings, shares of China Steel closed up 0.97 percent to NT$26, with 12.51 million shares changing hands.

In the first quarter, China Steel's carbon steel sales totaled 2.38 million metric tons, 64 percent of which were sold in the domestic market.

In March alone, China Steel posted a pretax profit of NT$2.06 billion, up 37 percent from February, and had operating income of NT$1.78 billion, up 41 percent from a month earlier.

The steel producer's consolidated sales in March rose 10 percent month-on-month to NT$31.54 billion. It sold 837,120 tons of carbon steel during the month, 65 percent of which was shipped to the local market.

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