ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, profited from the continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to report its highest quarterly earnings in 13 years, beating expectations, and announced a new share buyback.
The Luxembourg-based company also said on Thursday it had raised its forecast for the growth in global steel consumption this year to 7.5-8.5% from 4.5-5.5% previously.
ArcelorMittal said second-quarter core profit (EBITDA), the figure most watched by the market, was $5.1 billion, almost seven times higher than $700 million a year earlier and above analysts’ average forecast in a company poll of $4.7 billion.
The company said it would start a $2.2 billion buyback programme to be completed by the end of 2021.
It said it had benefited from strong steel demand and low inventories, resulting in higher steel shipments, although an improvement in steel spreads was not yet fully reflected in the group’s results due to order book lags.
It added that ongoing policy changes in China to curb inflation and a focus on decarbonisation could have lasting positive effects on the global steel industry outside of China.
The company also set a target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 25% by 2030 in a new decarbonisation plan which will require around $10 billion in investment.