NLMK Boosts Net Profit 44% To $1.53Bln

Novolipetsk Steel, the country's fourth-largest steelmaker, boosted net profit 44 percent to $1.53 billion in the first half of 2008 as it made more steel and sold it at higher prices.

Novolipetsk, controlled by billionaire Vladimir Lisin, forecast on Tuesday core earnings could exceed $5 billion and revenues $13 billion for the full year of 2008.

"We expect that the second half of the year will remain quite strong, driven by increased production, improvements in operational performance and robust demand in our core markets," chief financial officer Galina Aglyamova said in a statement.

Profit beat Renaissance Capital's estimates and was less than UBS and Troika Dialog expected. NLMK said revenues rose 63 percent to $5.88 billion in the first six months of the year.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization rose by 47 percent to $2.31 billion, NLMK said. EBITDA margin for the period was 39 percent, compared with 44 percent in the first half of 2007.

NLMK's board has recommended an interim dividend of 2 rubles (8.1 cents) per ordinary share for the first six months of 2008. Payment is subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary meeting scheduled for Sept. 19.

The company said July 15 that second-quarter output of all products apart from hot-dip galvanized steel and dynamo steel advanced by 14 to 34 percent compared with a year earlier. Prices climbed 13 percent to 99 percent in the period.

Reuters, Bloomberg