TOKYO (TIP): Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, one of the world’s biggest steelmakers, said its half-year profit slipped 2.9 percent, as it pointed to still-high production by Chinese mills. The firm’s net profit in the April-September period fell to 112.2 billion yen (USD 1.0 billion), saying its net profit a year earlier was lifted by a one-time investment gain. Sales rose 3.9 per cent to 2.78 trillion yen, while its operating profit fell 2.7 percent to 135.5 billion yen, it added.

“Steel exports were generally solid on the back of a gradual recovery in the global economy, but international steel market conditions continued to require caution because of such factors as the continued high level of production output at Chinese steelmakers,” Nippon Steel said in a statement. The company said it was on track for a net profit of 250 billion yen on sales of 5.65 trillion yen for the full year through March. It also kept unchanged an earlier pre-tax profit forecast of 400 billion yen, despite the impact of recent explosions at a domestic plant. “The company intends to steadily respond to strong demand trends, particularly in Japan, and seek to improve cost effectiveness while overcoming the impact of… (the) fire accident at the Nagoya Works and other adversities,” it said. At least 15 people were injured in September after an explosion at the firm’s steel plant in central Japan, the latest in a series of accidents at the site.

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