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BlueScope Steel ups fiscal H1'18 dividend, extends share buyback

BlueScope Steel Ltd. said Feb. 26 that its net profit jumped 23% year over year to A$441.2 million, or 78.6 cents per share, in the first half of its fiscal 2018.

The company declared a fully franked interim dividend of 6 cents per share, higher than the 4 cents per share declared a year ago, and extended its on-market share buyback by A$150 million.

Revenue in the six months ended Dec. 31, 2017, rose to A$5.49 billion from A$5.20 billion a year ago, while EBITDA dropped to A$697 million from A$737 million.

The increase in revenue was mainly due to higher steel prices across all its segments, which were partly impacted by the strength of the Australian dollar against U.S. currency.

Underlying EBIT dropped 11% to A$516.8 million, from A$577.7 million in 2016, which is higher than its increased guidance of about A$460 million.

Debt at the end of 2017 was down more than 50% on a yearly basis to A$262.1 million.

BlueScope expects second-half underlying EBIT to be about 25% higher than the first half after deducting a A$32.1 million one-off benefit.