February 28, 2019 / 8:38 AM / 22 days ago

Russia's Evraz reports strongest core earnings since 2008

MOSCOW, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Russia's second-biggest steelmaker Evraz reported on Thursday its strongest full-year core earnings in a decade, due to higher prices of steel and vanadium, and a weaker rouble.

Evraz, co-owned by Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich, reported earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $3.8 billion in 2018, up 44 percent year on year.

"The group generated (core earnings at their) highest level since 2008, which made it possible to pay dividends of $1.6 billion," Chief executive Alexander Frolov said in a statement.

The company declared an interim dividend of $0.40 per share on Thursday.

Its 2018 net profit jumped to $2.5 billion from $759 million in 2017, while revenue rose 18.6 percent to $12.8 billion, the company said, adding its 2019 capital expenditure was expected to be $800 million, up from $527 million in 2018.

In October, Evraz said it was considering four new investment projects that would raise annual capital expenditure to between $830-990 million.

The projects, a final decision on which will be made in the next two years, could include an investment of almost half a billion dollars in a new rail mill in the United States, Evraz has said, as U.S. tariffs on steel imports boost the company's U.S. rail business while piling on costs elsewhere.

Core earnings in the company's North America Steel business fell 76 percent. This was due to the effect of tariffs and duties in the region, introduced last year, affecting its sales of pipes from its Canadian plant into the United States. (Reporting by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Mark Potter)

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