ThyssenKrupp takes a hit from steel plants in Brazil, US

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Germany's biggest steel group, ThyssenKrupp, said Friday that start-up costs at plants in North and South America weighed heavily on earnings in its first quarter.

ThyssenKrupps said its three months to December net profit fell nearly 54 percent to 145 million euros ($197 million), largely because of an operating loss of almost 400 million euros at its Steel Americas unit due to "startup losses of the new steel plants" in Brazil and the United States.

Problems at both plants pushed ThyssenKrupp's debt up to 5.81 billion euros at the end of December from 2.0 billion euros three months earlier.

The group's other activities, which range from manufacturing auto parts and elevators to submarines, performed well, and quarterly sales gained 22 percent to 11.4 billion euros.

Operating profit excluding exceptional items was stable on a 12-month basis at 273 million euros.

ThyssenKrupp continues to expect a sales increase of 10-15 percent over the full fiscal year to September 2011 and forecasts core earnings of around two billion euros.

© 2011 AFP

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