* Kloeckner CEO says expects to pay 2014 dividend
* Says sees demand in Europe, U.S. rising this year
* Says prices in Europe, U.S. could pick up in Q2
* Shares rise almost 3 percent (Adds further CEO comments, shares)
DUESSELDORF, Germany, Feb 12 (Reuters) - German steel distributor Kloeckner & Co expects to reach its goal of paying shareholders their first dividend in four years for 2014 after the year’s first few weeks went well, its chief executive said.
“We had a good start to the year and see ourselves back on track for growth,” Gisbert Ruehl told Reuters on Wednesday.
Like other companies in the sector, Kloeckner was hit by a slump in demand for steel in Europe as government spending cuts and tight credit conditions hurt demand for cars, buildings and household appliances.
In November, Kloeckner announced a new round of restructuring and cost-cutting moves as it seeks to return to profit this year, even if its markets do not recover as quickly as hoped.
Ruehl said he expected steel demand, and Kloeckner’s sales volume, to grow by 1 to 2 percent in Europe this year and by 3 to 4 percent in the United States. That should also support prices, he said.
“In the second quarter, prices could pick up again, both in Europe and the United States,” he said, adding that acquisitions could then be back on the agenda in those regions.
Shares in Kloeckner, which is due to publish its financial results for 2013 on March 6, rose almost 3 percent following Ruehl’s comments. They were trading 1.8 percent higher at 11.065 euros by 1559 GMT. (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Holmes)