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The nation’s biggest steelmaker, Nippon Steel Corp., said Friday it has revised downward its group earnings projections for the fiscal first half due to a prolonged slump in domestic demand.

Nippon Steel said it now expects a consolidated net loss of 10 billion yen for the half year, marking a drastic turnaround from a projected net profit of 3 billion yen announced May 23.

The company also lowered its consolidated pretax profit projection to 10 billion yen from the earlier projected 15 billion yen.

Nippon Steel said it will continue to pay no interim dividends.

Consolidated sales are estimated at 1.21 trillion yen, up from the previously projected 1.2 trillion yen, due to a recovery of exports to Asia amid steady demand in China and other parts of East Asia.

The company left unchanged for the full year its consolidated pretax profit forecast of 75 billion yen and net profit forecast of 25 billion yen.

Kawasaki Steel positive

Major steelmaker Kawasaki Steel Corp. said Friday it has revised upward its consolidated earnings projections for the first half of the current fiscal year.

Kawasaki Steel said it now expects a consolidated net profit of 14 billion yen for the half-year period ending Sept. 30, up from its earlier projection of 7 billion yen announced in May.

The company attributed the revision to larger-than-expected production and sales of steel products mainly for export as well as expected improvements in its semiconductor and information technology business.

Consolidated sales are estimated at 510 billion yen, up from the previously projected 500 billion yen, the company said.

The company left its consolidated pretax profit unchanged from its earlier estimated 12 billion yen, due to expected foreign-exchange losses due to the higher yen, it said.

The company also left unchanged for the full year its consolidated pretax profit forecast of 50 billion yen and net profit forecast of 25 billion yen.

Kobe Steel revises up

Japan’s fifth-largest steelmaker, Kobe Steel Ltd., said Friday it has revised upward its group sales and profit forecasts for the current fiscal year, citing good sales to automakers and higher product prices overseas stemming from a rapid pickup in demand.

The steelmaker revised upward its consolidated sales estimate for the year to 1.18 trillion yen from 1.17 trillion yen.

Its full-year group net profit projection was also revised upward to 6 billion yen from 5 billion yen.

On a half-year basis to Sept. 30, the company revised upward its sales projection to 570 billion yen from 560 billion yen.

Net profit projection for the first half was revised upward to 4 billion yen from the earlier projected 1 billion yen.

Kobe Steel attributed the sharp upward revision for the half-year net profit projection to an export surge to Asian steel users, good sales to domestic carmakers and higher product prices overseas emanating from the rebound in demand from overseas.

But the company said it does not have a very rosy outlook for full-year sales and profitability in view of signs of flagging personal spending on the domestic front, corporate capital outlay cuts and possible further deceleration in the U.S. economy.

Kobe Steel said it must skip paying a midterm dividend under relevant Commercial Code clauses because it booked a group net loss of 28.5 billion yen in fiscal 2001.

Nisshin Steel down

Japan’s sixth-largest steelmaker, Nisshin Steel Co., said Friday it has revised downward its consolidated earnings projections for the fiscal first half due to a surge in the price of raw materials for stainless steel.

Nisshin Steel said it now expects a consolidated net loss of 5.5 billion yen for the half year, up from its earlier projected net loss of 4.5 billion yen.

The company also changed its consolidated pretax loss projection to 4 billion yen, up from the earlier projected pretax loss of 3 billion yen.

Nisshin Steel said it will continue skipping interim dividends.

Consolidated sales are estimated at 198 billion yen, down from the previously projected 200 billion yen.

However, the company has revised upward its consolidated pretax profit projection for the full year ending March 31 to 1.5 billion yen from a break-even estimate.

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