15 Feb 2013

Steel company half-year profit rises

2:23 pm on 15 February 2013

Steel & Tube says higher prices and margins have boosted its half year profit.

The steel and building products firm made a profit of $7.3 million in the six months to December, an increase of 14% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Sales fell 2% to $200 million and Steel and Tube chief executive Dave Taylor said underlying demand remains restrained due to subdued activity in the manufacturing and rural sectors.

He said this is partly offset by residential rebuilding in Christchurch.

Mr Taylor said the company has managed to increase margins a little despite sudued demand

Looking ahead, Mr Taylor expects a stronger second half amid an improving recovery led by Christchurch.

Steel & Tube declared a higher interim dividend of 6.5 cents a share.

Arrium of Australia sold its majority stake in Steel & Tube last November at $2.05 per share to domestic investors and institutions as part of a strategy to shore up its defences against a takeover.