BlueScope's profits head downwards due to weaker steel market

Due to a downturn in the steel industry, BlueScope has seen a big drop in its half-year earnings.
Due to a downturn in the steel industry, BlueScope has seen a big drop in its half-year earnings.

Port Kembla steelmaker BlueScope's earnings have taken a hit, dropping a whopping 70 per cent on last year.

It follows on from a drop in revenue for the 2019 financial year, where the steelmaker's before-tax profit was $1.15 billion - down from the previous year's $1.5 billion.

BlueScope CEO Mark Vassella announced the company's half-year returns on Monday morning, saying the decline was not unexpected.

For the first half of this financial year, BlueScope made a net profit of $185.8 million - down 70 per cent on the same period last year.

The before-tax profit of $302.4 million was also down $547 million on the previous year.

"Underlying EBIT for the half was $302.4 million, down on the first half of FY2019, driven by the decline in commodity steel spreads which we flagged in August last year," Mr Vassella said.

"However, with improving conditions at the tail-end of the half, we finished the first half of FY2020 slightly stronger than our guidance."

Mr Vassella said the performance in a weaker market was "more than creditable".

"Importantly, it confirms BlueScope is now a resilient, global company with a strong balance sheet and high-quality assets."

Australian Steel Products - the business section that includes the Port Kembla steelworks - recorded a 60 per cent drop in before-tax profit to $127.9 million compared to the same period last year.

The steelmaker said the loss was driven in part by weaker steel prices and a higher cost of raw materials.

However, there was a "favourable turnaround" in domestic sales, compared to the previous six months.

Mr Vassella said he expected things to stabilise in the second half of the financial year, returning a similar before-tax profit to the July-December half.

This story BlueScope's profits head downwards due to weaker steel market first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.