USA up, China down in BlueScope results

BlueScope
CEO Paul O’Malley has said there are positive signs for his business in the USA
and in the Australian residential housing market, but was cautious when Chinese
growth came up.

As reported
yesterday, BlueScope reported a small profit of $3.7 million in its half-year
results to December 31, and an underlying profit of $49.1 million.

The Australian
notes
the extraordinary items dragging the result down were made up largely due
to restructuring and redundancy costs, with 1,000 redundancies at BlueScope’s
Port Kembla site.

Fairfax reports that volumes and margins had increased in the half-year, and
residential construction in Australia had improved, especially in NSW and
south-east Queensland.

“We’re certainly on the road to recovery,” said the CEO.

He also
noted the upturn in economic activity in the US has been good for BlueScope.

“We are now starting to build more buildings than we
have in the past five years for customers that will operate manufacturing
facilities,” he said, adding that he believed Australia could learn
from the US’s gas and labour policy settings.

However, the news from China had not been great for
BlueScope.

“We didn’t expect the Chinese slowdown to be quite as
dramatic,” Bloomberg reports O’Malley as saying elsewhere.

“In building activity, in our space in particular, we are
seeing negative growth at the moment.”