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Evraz reinstates dividend, swings to US$53M H1 profit

Evraz Plc recorded net profit attributable to shareholders of US$53 million, or 4 U.S. cents per share, in the first half, compared to a net loss of US$4 million posted a year ago.

In an Aug. 10 statement, the company attributed the swing to strong coal and steel prices, as well as cost savings of US$63 million. This was partially offset by higher raw material prices as well as rising expenses in U.S. dollar terms due to the Russian ruble strengthening in the first half.

The steel producer declared an interim dividend of US$429.6 million, or 30 cents per share. This marks a return to dividends after a payout was not made in 2016.

Revenues rose by 44.1% year over year to US$5.11 billion due to higher prices of semifinished and construction steel products.

EBITDA surged 99.7% to US$1.15 billion, and net cash flows from operating activities rose 39.9% to US$746 million.

As of June 30, the company's net debt totaled US$4.28 billion, down US$518 million in the first half. Interest expense dropped to US$210 million, from US$222 million a year ago.

Evraz's production for pig iron, crude steel and steel products, net of rerolled volumes, went up in the first half, despite posting declines in the second quarter due to plant repairs.

CEO Alexander Frolov expects full-year earnings to benefit from positive trends in the global steel market, with the company continuing its capital expenditure strategy and debt reduction.

Steel demand in Russia is expected to rise in the second half while the North American market will remain strong, the company said.