Steelmaker JFE maintains full-year profit forecast of 35 bln yen

TOKYO Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:38am EST

TOKYO Jan 31 (Reuters) - JFE Holdings Inc, Japan's second-biggest steelmaker, posted a nine-month profit on Thursday and kept its forecast for full-year net income of 35 billion yen ($384.34 million) as the global economic slowdown is keeping a lid on earnings.

Net income for the nine months through December came to 21.9 billion yen compared to a loss of 37.3 billion yen in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 1.6 percent to 2.3 trillion yen.

The return to profit was mainly a result of booking extraordinary income of 23.1 billion yen after an impairment loss on overseas investments in the previous period.

"In (the) steel business, the global economic slowdown is persisting and there is still a steel supply demand gap in Asia," the company said in a statement. "In Japan, even though downward pressure on the yen has been seen recently, the domestic economic outlook remains unclear."

($1 = 91.0650 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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