BlueScope highlights achievements at its Annual General Meeting

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BlueScope Steel Image credit: flickr.com User: Alex Merrell Design

BlueScope Steel Limited held its Annual General Meeting in Sydney last Thursday, November 14th.

BlueScope Steel  Image credit: flickr.com User:  Alex Merrell Design
BlueScope Steel
Image credit: flickr.com User: Alex Merrell Design

According to the media release issued by the company, BlueScope had taken pleasing steps forward in the last year.

“While we have further work to do to achieve better returns, the 2013 financial year saw a turnaround for BlueScope as the benefit of several major strategic initiatives were realized.” said BlueScope’s Deputy Chairman, Mr. Ron McNeilly.

Mr. McNeilly highlighted the following positive developments:

-The Coated & Industrial Products Australia (CIPA) business achieving $150 million in underlying EBITDA, which is regarded as a major improvement of $300 million on the prior year and an outstanding outcome despite the continued difficult trading conditions in Australia.

-Building Products EBIT improvement to $80 million, 57% higher than FY2012.

-The formation of the NS BlueScope Coated Products joint venture with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation on 28 March 2013 with realized proceeds of US$571 million. This has contributed to a very strong balance sheet and improves BlueScope’s financial flexibility to invest in growth opportunities. The business had a strong performance in FY2013 and good progress is being made to deliver the benefits of working with NSSMC.

“With a strong balance sheet and improved financial flexibility, our Company is well positioned to improve and grow but as previously announced, there will be no final dividend for FY2013.” said Mr. McNeilly.

Mr. Paul O’Malley, BlueScope’s Managing Director and CEO added that the company is motivated by the early signs of improved conditions in the Australian market, as well as ongoing improvement in the U.S conditions and the strength of trading conditions in Asia.

The company’s strong performance in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam was also mentioned as one of its achievements. The Building Products business is described as well positioned to tap the anticipated strong growth in demand for building and construction.

Strong earnings in the North American buildings business are recorded in the December 2013 half. The Asian operations are seeing similar conditions to the last half.

The company will continue to grow the Global Building Solutions segment, while North Star has maintained solid earnings contribution.

Domestic volumes are said to be slightly better than the June 2013 half as the market remains challenging.

New Zealand Steel has also reported good performance. In the current half, the company reports domestic activity for the steel business in line with the June 2013 half. Relative to the last half, financial performance for the half will be reduced by the higher NZ$, softer realized iron sands prices, planned higher maintenance costs and a pension fund accounting adjustment.