Monday, March 17, 2008

Severstal profits up on higher steel prices

Russian steel maker Severstal boosted net profit 33.1 percent last year as steel prices rose and the company passed on inflationary costs to customers in the Russian and European steel markets.

Severstal, Russia's largest steel maker including foreign assets, said in a statement 2007 net profit rose to $1.94 billion as Russian demand rose and the European steel market remained stable.

"Based on the strong earnings and cash flows we are increasing the dividend payout to 40.1 percent of net profit, remaining in line with our dividend policy of paying 25 percent of consolidated net profit," said Seversal's chief executive and majority owner, Alexei Mordashov.

The company said its directors had recommended a 4 rouble per share dividend for the fourth quarter of 2007, which is due to be approved at an annual shareholders' meeting on June 27.

Severstal, which operates steel mills in Russia, the United States and Italy, boosted 2007 revenues 22.5 percent to a record $15.25 billion on higher sales prices, volume growth and the sale of more value-added products.

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