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October 29, 2009

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ArcelorMittal shows signs of recovery

ARCELORMITTAL SA, the world's largest steel maker, yesterday posted a US$903 million profit in the third quarter, its first after three consecutive quarterly losses.

ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal said the July-September period showed the first signs of recovery in the steel market after the recession caused demand to plunge for steel used to make cars, machinery and buildings.

"We should continue to see further gradual improvement through 2010, although the operating environment remains challenging," Mittal said.

Third-quarter profit was down 76 percent from the same period last year when the company made US$3.82 billion. Sales were US$16.18 billion, down more than half from US$35.19 billion a year ago - and only a slight increase on US$15.17 billion in the second quarter.

The company expects higher shipments and steel prices in the fourth quarter.

It is slowly restarting steel mills and furnaces that it suspended late last year.

ArcelorMittal warned that sales were still "substantially lower" than a year ago and less profitable because the economic crisis also triggered a steep fall in selling prices.


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