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Hyundai Steel's net profit soars on smaller currency losses

The first quarter net profit of  Hyundai Steel, the country's second-largest steelmaker, and its affiliates rose more than threefold in the first quarter on-year on reduced currency losses, the company said on Friday. 

Net income stood at 62.3 billion won ($60 million) in the January-March period, compared with 19.52 billion won a year ago, Hyundai Steel said in a regulatory filing. 

Sales rose more than 40 percent to 3.94 trillion won in the period, while operating profit nearly doubled to 232.2 billion won. 

"The stellar performance came from financial factors like a fall in foreign exchange loss," a company official said by phone, declining to give her name. 

Hyundai Steel's currency loss narrowed 36.9 percent to 62.5 billion won in the first quarter from a loss of 99 billion won a year ago. 

Hyundai Steel said it made investments to secure future growth engines during the quarter by spending 39.9 billion won of the 296.3 billion won investment planned for this year.

The company plans to complete the expansion of its plant for thick steel plates by this month, which will increase the company's production capacity of the product to 3.5 million tons from the current 3 million tons. The steelmaker is also pushing ahead with a project to build a plant for special steel used in making auto

parts. As of Friday, the plant was 5.1 percent completed. 

Hyundai Steel expected its sales to rise 6.6 percent to 4.2 trillion won in the second quarter from the previous quarter. 

Shares of Hyundai Steel closed down 1.77 percent at 66,500 won on the Seoul bourse compared with a 1.34 percent decline in the benchmark KOSPI. The company released its first quarter earnings after the market closed.

By Bae Ji-sook and news reports (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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