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ThyssenKrupp widens first-quarter loss but hopes for full-year profit

German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp has slumped deeper into the red, logging a big loss in its first fiscal quarter. But the full-year result will be back in the black on divestment proceeds and higher sales, the group says.

In its first fiscal quarter, ended December 2013, ThyssenKrupp booked a net loss of 69 million euros ($94 million), compared with a loss of just 1 million euros in the same quarter a year ago, the German heavy industry conglomerate announced in its released February 14 .

The result came on the back of falling sales, down by 13 percent in the quarter to 9.1 billion euros, and a 5 percent drop in new orders to a total of 10.6 billion euros, the company said.

The main reason for the net loss, however, were charges to financial income to the tune of 276 million euros and further special items totaling 36 million euros, ThyssenKrupp noted. The charges were mainly in connection with the sale of its stainless steel unit Inoxum to Finnish company Outokumpu, it added.

ThyssenKrupp banks on engineering future

Despite the loss, Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger was pleased with the result, saying he was especially satisfied with the company's restructuring from a steelmaker to a technology group.

"We started the new fiscal year with a good first quarter without help from the economy. As expected, the main drivers of our growth were the capital goods businesses," he said in a statement.

Hiesinger also noted that progress had been made in ThyssenKrupp's loss-making Steel Americas where capacity utilization and sales were higher, while costs had been reduced. After a tough time trying to find a buyer for Steel Americas, Hiesinger was able to sell at least half of it – a processing plant in the United States – for an estimate 1 billion euros.

Therefore, ThyssenKrupp said it was confident of achieving its full-year target of raising underlying profit to around 1 billion euros from 599 million a year ago.

uhe/dr (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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