* Q1 operating pft 1.2 trln won vs 816 bln won consensus
* Sees 2019 op at 5 trln won vs 2.8 trln won last year
* Steel prices in China extend rally this year
By Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL, March 30 South Korean steelmaker POSCO
said on Thursday it estimated its first-quarter
operating profit likely jumped more than four-fifths, topping
analysts' expectations, underpinned by solid steel demand in
China amid rising prices.
For 2019, the world's fourth-biggest steelmaker said it
expects to nearly double its annual operating profit to 5
trillion won compared with last year, fuelled by higher-margin
premium products and improvements in non-steel businesses.
Disclosing preliminary earnings guidance for the first time,
the world's fourth-largest steelmaker said operating profit for
January-March was about 1.2 trillion won ($1.07 billion),
climbing 82 percent from 659.8 billion won a year ago and
beating a consensus forecast of 816 billion won from 16
Steel prices in China, the world's biggest
consumer, have risen 16 percent so far in 2017, extending last
year's sharp recovery from a six-year decline as Beijing
implements efforts to spur infrastructure spending and cut
excess manufacturing capacity.
POSCO, which estimated revenue climbed 17 percent to 14.6
trillion won in the period while net profit more than doubled to
800 billion won, expects to report final first-quarter numbers
Company chairman Kwon Oh-joon, who has restructured
affiliates and cut debts at the steel giant to help cope with
intense competition from China and once-sagging product prices,
was appointed for another three-year term early this month.
The estimates were disclosed after POSCO shares closed down
0.9 percent on Thursday while the broader market fell
0.1 percent. The company's shares have risen 10 percent this
year, outpacing the market's 7 percent rise, after snapping six
consecutive years of declines last year.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Manolo
Serapio in MANILA; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)