German ThyssenKrupp upbeat after strong quarterly results

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The biggest German steel company, ThyssenKrupp, posted better than expected earnings Friday and clarified its full-year outlook on the back of a pick-up in major markets.

The group, which also makes elevators, auto parts and provides industrial services, now expects benchmark pre-tax profit of at least 500 million euros (645 million dollars).

It had previously forecast a figure between 100 million euros and one billion.

In the third quarter of its fiscal year, the three months from April to June, the group posted a pre-tax profit of 414 million euros, much better than an average forecast of 247 million by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

ThyssenKrupp had made a loss of 772 million euros in the same period one year earlier.

This time around it posted its best three-month result in seven quarters, on sales that gained 26 percent on the year to 11.7 billion euros, a statement said.

"Demand has improved significantly in our key customer sectors and core markets," chairman Ekkehard Schulz was quoted as saying.

He added however that the economic environment remained volatile.

At the end of the nine-month period ending in June, ThyssenKrupp had earned pre-tax profit of 918 million euros, but its fourth quarter will be marked by significant start-up costs for plants in the United States and Brazil.

In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, it expects sales and pre-tax profits to rise further, but did not provide details.

The German group was nonetheless thus more upbeat than some of its rivals.

The Japanese giant Nippon Steel has spoken of "uncertain perspectives," and another German group, Salzgitter, issued on Thursday a cautious outlook for the full year, underscoring a lack of clarity on raw material prices.

German steel trader Kloeckner & Co warned this week of a possible glut on steel markets.

© 2010 AFP

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