UPDATE 1-Evraz scraps interim dividend after H1 loss

Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:32am EDT

* H1 2013 loss $122 mln vs $46 mln loss in H1 2012

* Core profit at $939 mln, 12 percent above forecast

* Sees challenging H2

MOSCOW, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Russia's largest steelmaker Evraz recommended scrapping its interim dividend on Thursday as it posted a first-half net loss of $122 million, in line with analyst expectations due to weak steel prices.

The firm's loss was 165 percent deeper than in the same period of 2012, but shares rose 5 percent after earnings before earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in 12 percent above forecast at $939 million.

Steelmakers across the world have been struggling to cope with flagging prices as a growth slowdown in China and Europe's debt crisis hit construction and industrial production.

"The global steel market is expected to remain challenging during the second half of the year as structural problems continue to dominate the industry, with estimated global capacity utilisation to remain at 75 percent," the firm said in a statement.

The company, partly owned by Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich, said revenue fell 3 percent to $7.4 billion

Evraz's sector peers Severstal and MMK both reported losses this week.

The firm, which paid a first-half dividend in 2012, said it had recommended its board not pay an interim dividend for the first half of 2013.