London/New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal today posted over two-fold jump in net income to USD 1.03 billion for the last quarter of 2017 fiscal on the back of higher sales. Also Read - Uber Eats Delivery Driver Eats Customer's Food, Messages Her Saying 'Sorry Love, Ate Your Food'

The company, led by billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, had posted a net income of USD 403 million in the year-ago period, it said in a statement. Also Read - Naked Man Goes For a Run Amid Lockdown in London, Says He Took Off His Clothes to Wash Himself!

The steelmaker follows January-December financial year. Also Read - Priyanka Chopra Flouts COVID-19 Lockdown Rules By Visiting Salon in London With Mom Madhu Chopra, Police Alerted

Sales of the Luxembourg-based company rose to USD 17.710 billion in October-December period, from USD 14.126 billion in the year-ago period.

For the 2017 fiscal, the company reported two-fold rise in net income to USD 4.568 billion from USD 1.779 billion in 2016. Earning per share jumped to USD 4.48 in 2017 from USD 1.87 in 2016.

Commenting on the results ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi N Mittal said in a statement, “The combination of improving market fundamentals and delivery against our strategic objectives contributed to a successful year for the company. Action 2020 has delivered half of its targeted EBITDA gains and we have succeeded in transforming the Company s balance sheet.”

While the company will retain a deleveraging bias, he said ArcelorMittal is also investing selectively in opportunities that will strengthen the foundations of sustainable value creation.

“The market environment remains supportive but the industry must continue to address the twin challenges of overcapacity and unfair trade,” Mittal added.

The company’s crude steel output during the quarter increased to 22.7 million tonnes (MT), over 21.8 MT in the same quarter of prvious fiscal.

The steel shipment during October-December period also increased to 21 MT against 20 MT in the year-ago period.

On the outlook, the company said that the “market conditions are favorable. The demand environment remains positive (as evidenced by the continued high readings from the ArcelorMittal weighted PMI) and steel spreads remain healthy.” The company said that it expects the cash need of the business (capex, interest, cash taxes, pensions and other cash costs) excluding working capital investment to increase in 2018 to approximately USD 5.6 billion.

“The expected increase in capex to USD 3.8 billion in 2018 from USD 2.8 billion in 2017 largely reflects the Mexico HSM project, anticipated ILVA capex, as well as other projects,” the statement said.

The company said that it will continue to prioritise deleveraging and believes that USD 6 billion is an appropriate net debt target that will sustain investment grade metrics even at the low point of the cycle.

“The company will continue to invest in opportunities that will enhance future returns. By investing in these opportunities with focus and discipline, the cash flow generation potential of the Company is expected to increase,” it added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.