Europe's two leading steel groups today shrugged off the impact of soaring commodity prices and the west's economic slowdown, with ArcelorMittal posting a 16% leap in first-quarter pre-tax profits to $5bn (£2.57bn) and ThyssenKrupp a jump from €572m (£453m) to €742m.
ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, said it was benefiting from a "healthy pricing benefit" as it announced further carbon steel price rises of around 20% in July on the back of a 7% jump in February.
The Luxembourg-based group said shipments rose 8% compared with a year ago to 29.2m tonnes, with revenues up 22% - in dollar terms - to $29.8bn. It said it had already achieved the promised $1.6bn in synergies from the hotly contested merger between Arcelor and Mittal.
Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive and newly elected chairman, said: "Despite global economic uncertainties, we are continuing to see strong demand for steel and a healthy pricing dynamic.
"This global demand is supported by the continued industrialisation of a number of key, emerging economies and ArcelorMittal is well positioned to continue to take advantage of these dynamics."
He said pre-tax profits in the second quarter would exceed $6.5bn. Ekkehard Schulz, ThyssenKrupp chief executive, meanwhile, forecast annual pre-tax profits of more than €3bn on sales of €53bn.
I am not so sure what the price increases will be doing to the profitability of their customers in Europe