ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) reported first-quarter results before European markets opened Friday. The steelmaker reported basic earnings per share of $1.17 on revenues of $19.19 billion. Net profit for the quarter totaled $1.19 billion, compared to net profit a year ago of $1.00 billion. In the same period last year, the company reported basic EPS of $0.98 and sales of $16.09 billion. Analysts at FactSet had forecast net profit of $940 million on sales of $18.69 billion. Results are reported using the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Steel shipments totaled 21.3 million metric tons (tonnes) in the first quarter, up 1.7% sequentially and up 1.4% year over year.
Iron ore shipments rose 3.6% year over year to 13.8 million tonnes, of which the company shipped 9.1 million tonnes at market prices (up 5.5% from the first quarter of 2017.
Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said:
The improvement in global steel market dynamics has continued into 2018, supporting an encouraging financial performance in the first quarter. EBITDA increased 13% year-on-year to $2.5 billion, while net income improved by 19% to $1.2 billion.
Mittal also said that the “outlook for 2018 has strengthened” as a result of rising demand and “supply-side reform” that has improved productivity. He also mentioned “healthy steel spreads.”
The steelmaker did not change previously announced annual guidance. Analysts have forecast full-year EPS of $3.94 and sales of $73.66 billion.
The company reported that net debt increased to $11.1 billion as of March 31, compared to $10.1 billion at the end of December due to a working capital investment of $1.9 billion, share buyback of $200 million and foreign exchange effects totaling $200 million. Net debt is $1 billion lower when compared to net debt at the end of March 2017.
Shares traded up about 2.5% in Friday’s premarket, at $36.18 in a 52-week range of $19.59 to $37.50. The 12-month price target was $41.59 before this morning’s report.