Swedish steelmaker reports record year

Swedish steelmaker SSAB said on Wednesday it had earned record net profit last year because of booming global demand.

The company reported net profit of 4.341 billion kronor, a gain of 6.7 percent over 2005.

In the fourth quarter alone net earnings jumped 35.3 percent from a year earlier to 1.172 billion kronor.

Sales rose 11.6 percent over 2005 to 31.054 billion kronor and 18.7 percent to 8.316 billion kronor in the fourth quarter from the same period of 2005.

“In many ways 2006 was a record year for SSAB with the highest earnings ever and a volume of niche products that reached a new record level,” SSAB said in a statement.

“The global steel market is growing strongly,” it added, while warning of “a risk of future over-capacity with pressure on margins as a consequence.”

SSAB shares were stable at 174 kronor on an overall Stockholm market that was 0.29 percent weaker.

SSAB is a leading producer of high-strength steel sheet and steel plate.