Weak Euro, Cost Cutting Turns Around ThyssenKrupp AG Profit, Nickel Rises on the LME

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Steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG profits were up the first quarter of 2015, in the latest sign that the heavy restructuring undertaken by Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger is starting to pay off.

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The German industrial conglomerate said net profit for the period ended Dec. 31 was €50 million ($57.18 million), compared with a loss of €65 million a year earlier, boosted by a weaker euro.

“With a weaker euro, our exports are rather stronger now,” said ThyssenKrupp Chief Financial Officer Guido Kerkhoff. “There is an increasingly positive momentum,” he said.

The company reported an 11% increase in sales to €10.04 billion, compared with €9.09 billion last year, driven by strong growth in its capital goods businesses. Orders fell by 5% to €10.09 billion from €10.66 billion year-over-year, mainly attributable to a large order in the naval ships business that inflated sales in the first quarter of last year, the company said.

Weakening prices changed direction when the Indian nickel cash price rose 1.1% on Monday, February 23 to INR 875.00 ($14.08) per kilogram. Following a 0.2% rise on Monday, the 3-month price of nickel closed on the LME at $14,010 per metric ton. Following a two-day drop, the nickel spot price increased by 0.2% on the LME to $13,950 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 10,950 ($1,751) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 82,000 ($13,113) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge continues hovering around $0.94 per pound for the fifth day in a row. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 23,700 ($3,790) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 16,700 ($2,671) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap was unchanged at CNY 13,050 ($2,087) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap continues hovering around CNY 9,450 ($1,511) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

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