NZ's Steel and Tube Ltd half year profit lifts

WELLINGTON Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:44pm EST

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WELLINGTON Feb 15 (Reuters) - New Zealand steel and building products firm Steel and Tube Ltd reported a 14 percent rise in first half profit on improved margins and prices, and expected a further lift in the second half.

The company said net profit for the six months to Dec 31 was NZ$7.3 million ($6.2 million) compared with last year's NZ$6.4 million, although sales eased 1.6 percent.

It declared a dividend of 6.5 cents a share down on last ear's 5.5 cents.

It said the outlook was improving with the Christchurch earthquake rebuild leading a lift in activity, with the second half delivering better returns than the first half.

Shares in the company closed on Thursday at NZ$2.54.

Australia's Arrium Ltd sold its majority stake in Steel and Tube last November at NZ$2.05 a share to local investors and institutions as part of strategy to shore up its defences against takeover.

($1=NZ$1.18)

(Gyles Beckford)

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