The world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s loss widened to USD 1 billion in October-December 2011 due to subdued European demand and a USD 1.3 billion outgo on deferred tax, impairments and restructuring charges.

“The progressive recovery that we have been experiencing was impacted in the second half of the year by the growing uncertainty over the economic situation in Europe, which particularly affected sentiment and performance in the fourth quarter,” ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said.

The company, which had reported USD 780 million loss in October-December quarter of 2010, partly attributed the loss during the fourth quarter to USD 1.3 billion non-cash charges, which deferred tax, asset impairments and restructuring.

Net sales of the company, however, were up at USD 22.4 billion during the reporting quarter against USD 20.6 billion in the last quarter of 2010. It sold 20.6 million tonnes steel during the reporting quarter and 21.1 million tonnes in the immediate past quarter.

“Sales were lower during the fourth quarter of 2011 as compared to the third quarter of 2011 primarily due to lower average steel selling prices (-6.2 per cent) and lower steel shipment volumes (-2.5 per cent),” the company said.

Admitting that the market condition in Europe remained “a live concern”, Mr. Mittal said an improvement in sentiment could be seen now against the fourth quarter, but sales volume for the first six months was expected to be similar to the first half of 2011. “We are again targeting increased production from our mining business,” he said.

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