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BlueScope ups dividend, offers A$250M buyback as FY'18 profit spikes 119% YOY

BlueScope Steel Ltd. said Aug. 13 that net profit for its full fiscal 2018 spiked 119% year over year to A$1.57 billion, or A$2.82 per share.

The rise in earnings was due to reversal of previously impaired plant and equipment at its Australian Steel Products segment of A$216.0 million, recognition of previously unbooked Australian tax losses, restatement of deferred tax liabilities associated with U.S. tax reform as well as higher underlying profits.

As a result, the Australian steel major declared a 60% higher final dividend of 8 cents per share, as well as an on-market share buyback of A$250 million, to be held in the first half of its fiscal 2019.

Revenue for the period rose 9% yearly to A$11.50 billion, due to higher steel prices across all segments and higher dispatch volumes, offset by a stronger Australian dollar against the U.S. dollar.

Underlying EBIT for the period marked a 15% rise to A$1.27 billion, its highest level since its fiscal 2005, due to strong performance in the second half, driven by robust demand and steel spreads in its U.S. and Australasian markets.

Net cash as of June 30 was at A$63.6 million, from a net debt of A$232.2 million a year earlier.

BlueScope expects underlying EBIT to increase 10% in the first half of its fiscal 2019, from the A$745.0 million it booked in the second half of its fiscal 2018.