TOKYO (Reuters) - JFE Holdings Inc (5411.T), the world’s fifth-largest steelmaker, reported a 68 percent drop in full-year profit as a stronger yen squeezed export margins and product prices sagged.
Recurring profit, or earnings before tax and special items, was 52.98 billion yen ($650 million) in the year ended March 31, compared with 165.81 billion yen a year earlier, the Japanese company said in a statement on Friday.
The earnings beat a consensus estimate of 41.52 billion yen in a poll of 13 analysts in Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
JFE didn’t give a profit forecast for the year ending March 2013.
Asian steelmakers are struggling with reduced demand because of a slowing Chinese economy, while product prices have declined due to chronic oversupply in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the alloy used in construction, ships and cars.
Shares in JFE have risen about 10 percent since the start of 2012, outperforming its bigger rivals Nippon Steel Corp’s (5401.T) 6 percent gain and POSCO’s (005490.KS) 0.6 percent drop. ($1 = 81.5450 Japanese yen)
Reporting by Yuko Inoue