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Kawasaki Steel Corp. returned to profitability, while four other major steel makers suffered another disappointing year, according to fiscal 1999 earnings reports released Thursday.

Kawasaki Steel posted 12.429 billion yen in consolidated net profits for the business year that ended March 31, compared with losses of 113.826 billion yen in the previous year.

Its group pretax profits came to 26.076 billion yen, rising more than eight times from a year earlier, with sales amounting to 1.257 trillion yen, up 14.9 percent from a year before.

Nippon Steel Corp. managed to remain in the black but its consolidated net profits fell 2.7 percent to 11.173 billion yen.

The group’s pretax profits for the year grew 323.3 percent from a year earlier to 64.687 billion yen, on sales of 2.68 trillion yen, down 2.9 percent from the previous year.

Despite the disappointing result for the year, however, the nation’s top steelmaker said it expects a sharp upturn for the current business year through next March, with its group net profits expected to amount to 25 billion yen.

NKK Corp., the second largest, incurred group net losses of 45.928 billion yen for the year to March, the second straight setback, although its pretax balance improved to 20.396 billion yen in profits.

Kobe Steel logged group net losses of 53.087 billion yen for the same year, far surpassing the 38.873 billion yen in losses a year before.

Its consolidated pretax profits came to 13.731 billion yen in a turnaround from 22.688 billion yen in losses the previous year, although sales declined 4.1 percent to 1.253 trillion yen.

Sumitomo Metal also posted consolidated net losses of 145.124 billion yen, compared with losses of 69.469 billion yen a year before.

The firm attributed the second straight yearly loss to increased costs for restructuring money-losing operations.

Although sales posted a 5.7 percent year-on-year increase to 1.424 trillion yen, it logged 63.791 billion yen in pretax losses compared with losses of 64.95 billion yen a year before.