Hyundai Steel’s focus on high end pays off

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Hyundai Steel’s focus on high end pays off

Hyundai Steel, Korea’s second-biggest steelmaker by sales, said Thursday that its first-quarter earnings more than doubled on robust sales of high-end products and cost reduction efforts.

Net profit in the first three months of the year jumped to 341.11 billion won ($302 million) from 158.58 billion won last year, the company said in a statement.

“To offset lower demand from automakers and shipbuilders, the company increased sales of value-added products like high-intensity reinforced bars,” the statement said.

High-intensity reinforced bars are mainly used for commercial and residential buildings. Sales of automotive steel and thick steel plates fell due to weak demand from automakers and shipbuilders, the company said.

To prop up its bottom line, the steelmaker cut costs by 101.4 billion won during the first quarter.

Operating profit climbed 30 percent to 349.68 billion won in the January-March period from 269.19 billion won a year earlier. Sales rose 22 percent to 4.57 trillion won from 3.74 trillion won.

Last week, the company’s larger rival, Posco, also posted solid first-quarter earnings, helped by higher product prices and equity gains from its affiliates.

Posco’s net profit nearly tripled to 976.9 billion won in the first quarter from 338.4 billion last year.

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