ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, forecast improving demand and earnings this year after a wretched 2012 in which sliding European consumption and a Chinese slowdown drove it to a deep net loss.
The Luxembourg-based company said on Wednesday that global steel consumption would grow by 3 per cent this year after a 2 per cent increase last year, with accelerating growth in China and Brazil while Europe would not be as weak as before.
The company said it expected its own steel shipments would rise by between 2 and 3 per cent in 2013 and margins per tonne would improve slightly over the course of the year due to a cost savings plan.
Iron ore shipments from its expanding mining operations would increase by 20 per cent, with a ramp-up of production in Canada.
Overall, core profit would be higher this year than the US$7.08 billion of 2012, the second lowest level since the company was formed in 2006.
Chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said that 2012 was a difficult year for steel, particularly in Europe, where demand had fallen by 8.8 per cent, prompting a number of steps to reduce capacity and cut debt.
ArcelorMittal made a net loss of $3.73bn for the year, largely the result of a $4.3bn hit in the fourth quarter from writing down the value of its European steel business and $1.3bn related to the idling and closure of plants.