POSCO Q3 profit falls 25 pct as China slowdown hits steel demand

SEOUL Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:43am EDT

SEOUL Oct 23 (Reuters) - POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steelmaker, posted a 25 percent drop in quarterly profit on Tuesday, as a cooling China economy sapped demand for automotive and shipbuilding steel.

POSCO, the first major steel mill to report July-September earnings, posted an operating profit of 819 billion won ($741.7 million) on a parent basis, slightly below an average estimate of 840 billion won from 20 analysts polled by Reuters.

This was down from 1.09 trillion won in operating profit a year ago, marking a third consecutive quarter of profit decline. POSCO made 1.06 trillion won in the previous quarter.

Parent sales fell 12 percent to 8.9 trillion won, versus an average forecast of 8.95 trillion won.

Shares in POSCO, in which Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns some 5 percent, ended down 2.1 percent prior to the results, compared with a 0.8 percent drop in the broader market.

Shares in POSCO have lost 8.3 percent so far this year, after slumping 21 percent and 22 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

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