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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Arcelor Mittal sees profit up 40%
Steel produced at a Mittal plant
Steel prices have been rising steadily
The world's largest steel firm, Arcelor Mittal, has reported strong quarterly profits, as higher demand for steel has pushed prices up.

Net income rose 40% to hit $2.25bn (1.13bn) in the three months to 31 March, from $1.6bn a year ago.

Mittal acquired Arcelor in August 2006 for 30bn euros, to create a firm that holds about 10% of the steel market.

Looking ahead, the firm expects overall shipment levels to be higher than in the second quarter, rising by 3-5%.

Shareholder row

The combined firm's latest figures are compared with figures pre-dating the merger when the two were separate.

While the firm is already issuing one set of figures, there are still some remaining terms of the deal that need to be signed and are expected to be resolved this summer.

A sticking point has been over how much certain shareholders will receive in the buy-out, with Arcelor minority shareholders displeased at the amount being offered.

The global market for steel has been growing, with especially strong demand from developing countries such as China as they embark on large industrial and building works.

In separate figures on Wednesday, Chinese government data showed April crude steel output increased16.5% from a year earlier.

Li Shijun, deputy secretary general of China Iron and Steel Association said: "Steel production is out of control. But the steel-consuming industries are even crazier."

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