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1/10/2018 — Other Minerals and Metals
NZ Steel a good prop for BlueScope

New Zealand Steel and the linked Pacific Islands operations for BlueScope Steel Ltd (ASX: BSL) delivered a positive fiscal 2018 year.

The company’s annual report said the strong earnings before income tax for this division came primarily through productivity and cost improvements, and higher realised selling prices.

BlueScope said NZ Steel also made good headway on productivity initiatives and cost savings – “a constant essential focus for the business.”

The report said the balance sheet for this division was in good shape, reaching a $A63.6 million net cash position at June 30. This was a stark contrast to net debt at December 31, 2018 of $A262.1 M.

The company was progressing towards a net target of $A200 M to $A400 M net cash.

The company reported strong EBIT earnings for group operations for the year of $A1.269 billion. The return on invested capital was 20%, delivering a net-cash position on the balance sheet. This took in a return of a further $A362 M to shareholders during the year through dividends, and a share buy-back.

The North Star steelmaking operations in North America performed strongly, while the Australian Steel Products division boosted profit for the third consecutive year.

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