* Q1 operating profit 3 mln euros vs 9.6 mln in poll
* Outokumpu sees Q2 result at breakeven or slightly negative
* Deliveries up, shares rise some 3 pct
* SSAB's profit beats expectations
(Adds analyst's comments, details on SSAB and Inoxum)
HELSINKI, April 27 Shares in Finnish stainless
steel maker Outokumpu rose on Friday as investors
took an increase in deliveries as a sign long-term recovery was
on its way, looking beyond a first-quarter profit fall on weaker
demand in debt crisis-hit Europe.
Swedish speciality steelmaker SSAB's
stronger-than-expected profit also raised hopes that demand was
stabilising across the industry and the company said it was
confident it could hike prices in Europe despite economic gloom.
Outokumpu's January-March operating profit was 3 million
euros ($3.97 million), down from 33 million euros a year ago,
showing the tough task ahead as it plans to buy and turn around
ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel business, Inoxum.
Outokumpu's operating profit missed an average forecast of
9.6 million euros in a Reuters analyst poll, but Swedbank
analyst Erkki Vesola said he was somewhat reassured by a 6
percent rise in deliveries - a possible sign of stronger demand.
The shares rose 3.1 percent to 1.24 euros by 0827 GMT.
The company said it would break even or post a slight loss
in the second quarter. It also cited the impact of lower
stainless steel base prices, which fell to 1,185 euros per tonne
from 1,215 euros a year earlier, in the first quarter.
SSAB posted a larger-than-expected quarterly operating
profit of 479 million crowns ($71.34 million), beating market
expectations and sending shares up around 7
SSAB, which specialises in high-strength steels, said it
expected a recovery in demand in the United States - which makes
up around 40 percent of sales - to continue.
Although Europe - which accounts for a further 40 percent of
revenues - is still mired in a debt crisis which has hit demand,
SSAB said it expected to be able to raise prices in the region.
Outokumpu announced its planned 2.7 billion euro acquisition
of Inoxum in January, aiming to boost profitability and fend off
Asian rivals. The deal is expected to close later this year.
Some see the merger as a good chance for Outokumpu to beat
out rivals and cut overcapacity, but analysts have also warned
the deal was costly.
Outokumpu said it was cutting 150 to 200 jobs at mills in
Finland and the Netherlands to improve its finances.
Earlier on Friday, Japan's Nippon Steel Corp
reported a quarterly profit, beating its forecast for a loss, as
recovering Japanese car production offset slower export
($1 = 0.7559 euros)
($1 = 6.7144 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Helsinki Newsroom; Editing by Helen