* Q3 core profit $42 mln vs Reuters poll consensus $42.5 mln
* Net loss $17 mln vs Reuters poll consensus of $36 mln loss
* Sees Q4 core profit similar to Q3
* Expects net debt to fall significantly in Q4
* Q3 earnings include $8 mln capital gain from Brazil sale
(Adds details, background)
BRUSSELS, Oct 30 Stainless steel maker Aperam
forecast no improvement in earnings in the last three
months of the year after weak prices and the normal summer
slowdown led to a fifth consecutive quarterly net loss.
The Luxembourg-based group, which produces in Belgium,
France and Brazil, said it shipped 5 percent less in the third
quarter than the second and slipped into a loss in Europe due to
price pressure and seasonality.
Third-quarter core profit (EBITDA) of $42 million was in
line with the average forecast in a Reuters poll, but included a
capital gain of $8 million and was still the lowest level in
almost two years. Aperam said the number would be similar in the
fourth quarter due to the uncertain market.
"For the end of the year, we look positively on the recent
base price increases and higher import duties in Brazil, but
need to remain cautious as a result of the volatile and
uncertain market conditions," Chief Executive Philippe Darmayan
said in a statement.
Base prices are those agreed with the customer on a monthly,
quarterly or longer basis. Stainless steel sales also include a
monthly alloy surcharge based on the average price a month or
two before a booking.
Stagnant consumption and cheaper imports from Asia have left
Europe with a capacity glut, prompting consolidation such as
Outokumpu's takeover of the stainless steel business
of ThyssenKrupp earlier this year.
The industry has also suffered from steadily falling nickel
prices since the start of 2011, with an early 2012 recovery now
wiped out. Distributors stock up when prices rise, and hold off
when they fall in the hope of even cheaper prices in the future.
Benchmark nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange
fell to a three-year low of $15,250 per tonne at the start of
August, rose to $18,920 by early October, but have since sunk to
Aperam, floated by ArcelorMittal early last year,
has relied on a cost cutting plan, called the Leadership
Journey, which has produced $251 million of annual savings since
the start of 2011. It is targeting $350 million by 2013.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Editing by Ethan Bilby and