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BlueScope s first half loss has narrowed and earnings are expected to continue improving. Picture: Bloomberg.
BlueScope's first half loss has narrowed and earnings are expected to continue improving. Picture: Bloomberg.

BlueScope Steel has posted a $12 million loss for the first half of the financial year, and expects continuing improvement in its underlying profit.

The manufacturer's loss in the six months to December 31 was an improvement from a $530 million loss in the same period in the previous year.

The previous corresponding period's loss was a result of massive restructuring within the business, including job cuts, aimed at overcoming the impact of the high Australian dollar and strong competition from overseas.

BlueScope's underlying net profit in the six months to December, which excludes one-off charges, was $10 million, up from a loss of $136 million in the previous corresponding period.

The company said it expected continued improvement in its underlying profit in the second half of the financial year, forecasting a small profit for the period.

"The result is encouraging and, notwithstanding difficult trading conditions in Australia, the Coated and Industrial Products Australia (CIPA) segment delivered a positive result of $79 million in underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation)," BlueScope managing director Paul O'Malley said in a statement.

BlueScope has cut more than 1000 jobs after making two consecutive $1 billion annual losses, due to a range of economic factors that have hit the Australian steel market and forced the company to end its export operations.

The company will not pay an interim dividend in the current financial year.