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BlueScope optimistic despite $1bn loss


BlueScope Steel expects its financial performance to improve in the year ahead after posting a $1.04 billion loss in the 12 months to June.

The company had forecast the massive deficit.

The result was a slight improvement from the previous year's $1.05 billion loss.

In the year to June, the company took impairment charges on some of its assets, and undertook a restructure as it came under pressure from the high Australian dollar and slowing demand.

It has cut nearly 1,500 jobs in the past 12 months, shut facilities at Port Kembla in NSW and closed its steel export business.

Chief executive Paul O'Malley on Monday said the 2011/12 financial year was a transforming year for the company.

BlueScope's Australian businesses were expected to be earnings positive in the 2012/13 financial year, he said.

"Globally, we are now well-positioned for growth," Mr O'Malley said in a statement.

"For the (first half) of FY2013, we expect a continued improvement in financial performance with an underlying net after tax loss approaching break-even."

BlueScope recently finalised a deal with Japan's largest steelmaker Nippon Steel that significantly reduced the company's debts.

Nippon has taken a 50 per cent stake in BlueScope's coated steel products business, giving BlueScope $US540 million ($A515.69 million) in proceeds.

The deal, announced on August 13, caused a significant rise in BlueScope's share price, but at 40 cents they remain well below the 63 cents they were worth 12 months ago.