Steelmaker BlueScope Steel has returned to profitability thanks to improved performances from its North American, Asian and Australian businesses.
BlueScope made a net profit of $3.7 million for the six months to December 31, a turnaround from a loss of $23.8 million for the same period a year ago.
The first half profit follows full year losses of $84 million for 2012/13 and more than $1 billion for 2011/12.
Underlying profit, which excludes one-off items, was $49.1 million, a turnaround from a $1.6 million loss for the first half of 2012/13.
BlueScope said the result was boosted by a 62 per cent improvement in earnings, to $50.9 million, from the company’s Asian and North American building products division and a 48 per cent earnings lift, to $48.7 million, from its North Star BlueScope Steel business, also in North America.
Meanwhile, BlueScope’s Australian coated and industrial products division recorded earnings of $26.9 million, up $37.5 million from its previous negative earnings result. However, the division’s reported result was a $900,000 loss, compared to last year’s $2.4 million profit.
The company’s building components and distribution business dragged on the result, with an underlying earnings loss of $10.9 million, compared with last year’s $7.1 million loss.
BlueScope says it expects its second half profit to be roughly in line with the first half.
The company did not pay an interim dividend.