Japan Integrated Steels Post Favorable Earnings in Apr-Dec 2005

Japanese 5 integrated steel makers, Nippon Steel, JFE Holdings, Sumitomo Metal Industries, Kobe Steel and Nisshin Steel, posted favorable income in April-December 2005 due to active demand for high-grade steel products from domestic manufacturers including automakers and improvement of their selling prices, although they reduced the output of commodity steels in order to adjust inventories and blast furnaces had some operative troubles at some makers. All of 5 integrated steels are likely to mark the highest consolidated recurring profits through fiscal 2005 ending March 2006. Their shareholders’ equity to total assets would increase and their balance sheets would improve further.Nippon Steel, Sumitomo Metals and Kobe Steel posted higher consolidated recurring profits and net profits in April-December 2005 than the annual results of fiscal 2004 ended March 2005. They marked the highest consolidated recurring profits and net profits in fiscal 2004. Nippon Steel achieved 61% of the estimated consolidated recurring profit for the second half of fiscal 2005 in October-December, JFE Holdings achieved 48%, Sumitomo Metals 66% and Kobe Steel 54%. They could reach or exceed the estimated results for fiscal 2005 at the present pace.Nippon Steel posted 391.4 billion yen of consolidated operating profit and JFE Holdings 381.3 billion yen for their steel businesses in April-December. Crude steel output of the parent firm of Nippon Steel increased by 1.13 million tonnes to 23.35 million tonnes in April-December 2005 from the same period of 2004. That of JFE Holdings decreased by 1.12 million tonnes to 19.93 million tonnes. Nippon Steel improved the averaged selling price of steel products by 2,200 yen to 75,600 yen in October-December from April-September, while JFE improved by 3,800 yen to 79,400 yen.