Dow Jones Newswires: ArcelorMittal swings to loss as sales drop

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ArcelorMittal said Thursday that it swung to a loss in the fourth quarter of 2019, due to one-off costs and a challenging market environment.

The Luxembourg-based steel-and-mining company MT, +2.51% MT, +1.54%  reported a quarterly net loss of $1.88 billion, compared with profit of $1.19 billion in the year-earlier period. It widened the loss compared with the third quarter when it reported a $539 million loss.

The company said that results were impacted by impairment charges and exceptional items as well as the market environment.

Sales dropped to $15.51 billion from $18.33 billion, partly due to lower average steel selling prices, the company said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $925 million, down from $1.95 billion the year-earlier period.

Analysts expected fourth-quarter sales of $15.84 billion, while Ebitda was expected to be $865 million, according to FactSet.

The company’s net debt as of the end of the year was $9.35 billion, it said. The company aims to reduce its net debt to $7 billion by the end of this year.

“Although market conditions remain challenging, there are encouraging early signs of improvement particularly in our core markets of U.S., Europe and Brazil,” said the company’s CEO Lakshmi N. Mittal.

“With inventory levels having reached a very low level following a period of de-stocking, we are seeing customers return to the market, supporting an improved pricing environment.”

ArcelorMittal proposed a dividend of $0.30 for 2020.