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Higher prices lift ArcelorMittal in first quarter

The world’s second-largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal on Thursday reported a sharp rise in profits in the first quarter as higher prices offset declining sales due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At $4.1 billion, net profits leapt 80 percent year-on-year in January-March, the company said in a statement, while revenues were up 34 percent at almost $22 billion — both figures beating expectations from analysts surveyed by Factset.

After suspending its Ukraine business at the outbreak of war, “we have slowly restarted operations, and are currently operating one of three blast furnaces,” ArcelorMittal added.

Chief executive Aditya Mittal said that the strong first-quarter performance had been “overshadowed by the war in Ukraine”, placing “focus… on providing support to our 26,000 colleagues and their communities”.

But he added that the Luxembourg-headquartered firm had defied both the war and worldwide inflationary pressures to deliver strong results.

“Market conditions are currently strong although we are now anticipating apparent steel consumption to contract slightly this year,” Mittal said, with the group predicting demand to fall by up to one percent.

The steel boss said the metal “will play a vital and critical role in the transition to a decarbonised and circular economy”.

In the long term, ArcelorMittal aims to reduce its worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.