ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel maker, today reported a net loss of USD 345 million for the first quarter ended March, but said its restructuring efforts have begun to yield results. The company had reported a net profit of USD 92 million in the corresponding quarter of 2012 as it had benefited from a tax windfall of USD 176 million. Besides, its core profits or EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) also declined by 26.11 per cent to USD 1.565 billion during the quarter, while the sales was down 13 per cent at USD 19.752 billion. "Economic conditions remain challenging but our performance in the quarter reflects the results of the management action we have taken to confront the effects of the financial crisis. "We have significantly reduced our net debt and the steps we have taken to focus production on our more competitive assets are beginning to yield results," ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal said. According to the company, it managed to reduce its net debt by USD 3.8 billion to USD 18 billion as on March 31. During the quarter, its steel shipments at 20.9 million tonnes (MT) increased 4.7 per cent during the quarter as compared to October-December quarter of 2012.
However, it declined by 5.86 per cent on a year-on-year basis. Besides, its crude steel production declined 1.75 per cent to 22.4 MT, while iron ore production was down 0.76 per cent to 13.1 MT during the quarter. "EBITDA in second quarter of 2013 is expected to be above first quarter levels. Together with an anticipated release of working capital and receipt of previously announced disposal proceeds, this should support a further reduction in net debt to approximately USD 17 billion by end June 2013," the company said in its outlook. Moreover, it reiterated its guidance of achieving an EBITDA of USD 7.1 billion in the year, while assuming that iron ore prices and margin of steel prices over raw material costs would remain similar to the levels of 2012. It is also hopeful of a 2 per cent increase in steel shipments and a 20 per cent rise in iron ore shipments. The company has kept a capital expenditure target of USD 3.5 billion and is targeting to increase production of iron ore from its Canadian mines to 24 MT from existing 16 MT by June this year. It also hopes to gain USD 3 billion by 2015-end through cost cutting measures and realised USD 0.2 billion in the first quarter ended March, 2013.