Usinor: Results for the First Quarter 2001

PUTEAUX, France, June 5, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) - Usinor

Apparent consumption for steel in the European Union has dropped by some 4% during the first quarter of 2001, a decrease which hit most of steel products. This slowdown of demand has been observed on a worldwide level, but most notably in the United States, which are hit by a strong reduction of industrial growth.

Consolidated Results

Consolidated net sales of Usinor for the first quarter of 2001 amounted to 3,937 million Euro compared to 4,026 million for the first quarter of 2000, or a decrease of 1.6% on a comparable basis. This variation reflects a general decrease of volumes (Flat Carbon Steels -1.8%, Processing and Distribution -2.8%, Stainless Steels, Alloys and Specialty Plates -13.9%) but a slight increase in average selling prices (Flat Carbon Steels +1.4%, Processing and Distribution +4.1%, Stainless Steels, Alloys and Specialty Plates +2.4%).

 In millions of Euros    First Quarter    First Quarter
                            2000              2001
                         (unaudited)      (unaudited)
 Net sales                 4,026             3,937
 Operating profit            284               145
 Net income                  166                78
 Earning per share*         0.71              0.34

* In Euro. Excluding treasury shares held by Usinor at March 31.

Net consolidated sales for the first quarter comprise Flat Carbon Steels for 2,262 million Euros, Processing and Distribution for 1,042 million and Stainless Steels, Alloys and Specialty Plates for 883 million Euros.

Operating profit was 145 million Euros, or 3.7% of net sales compared with 284 million in 2000. Contribution by division was 167 million for Flat Carbon Steels, 22 million for Processing and Distribution, Stainless Steels, Alloys and Specialty Plates having contributed negatively with a 26 million Euros loss.

The strong reduction in the operating margin is essentially due to a worldwide severe fall of stainless markets, most notably in the United States. This situation led the Group to implement significant production cuts. Flat Carbon Steels have shown a better resistance thanks to the large share of sales made under contracts for which one notes average selling prices higher than 2000 prices. Product mix has also improved.

Net income for the first quarter 2001 was 78 million Euros.

 In millions of euros     December 31,      March 31,
                            2000              2001
 Total shareholders'
  equity including 
   minorities               5,687             5,760
 Net indebtedness           3,069             3,078
 Net debt/Total 
  shareholders' equity*      0.54              0.53
 * Including minority interests.

At March 31, 2001, net debt at 3,078 million Euros remains stable compared to December 31, 2000. The net debt ratio at 0.53 at March 31, should improve by June 30, and be under 0.50 by year-end.


Destocking for hot rolled carbon products seems completed in the European Union but still underway for cold rolled and coated products.

Stainless Steels consumption remains weak and price increases for flat products will remain fragile as long as a significant price recovery in Asia and in the USA does not occur.

On a worldwide basis, selling prices for steel products remain sensitive to the likely impact of a deeper and longer slowdown of the North American economy than previously estimated.

In this context, it remains difficult to expect price increases before the fourth quarter of this year.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. These statements are based on current expectations whereas actual results may differ.


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