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BHP Steel today announced Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) of A$105 million for the quarter ended 30 September 2001.

The result has been achieved despite difficult market conditions, including lower international prices for steel. It incorporates one-off profits of A$32 million from the sale of various assets, including Australian and United States strapping businesses.

BHP Steel President and CEO Kirby Adams said: "This is a creditable result given the current world steel environment, although we recognise the need for further improvement in order to generate acceptable returns for our shareholders."

"Market conditions have been more demanding than the first quarter of last year when the Australian steel market was buoyed by building and construction activity related to the Olympics and the implementation of the GST."

"On a relative basis, the result re-emphasises BHP Steel's standing as one of the world’s better performing steel products businesses," Mr Adams said.

"The result reflects our continuing success in competing with steel imports into the Australian market, the inroads we are making against competing materials such as timber, tiles and concrete, and our ability to profitably place exports in challenging international markets."

The result includes operating profits from BHP Billiton's Transport and Logistics business in both periods and 50 per cent of the losses from the North Star BHP Steel joint venture in the United States.

However the quarter result does not include operating profits from discontinued businesses, which were reported in the corresponding period last year.

BHP Steel is a business group of BHP Billiton. It remains on track to be publicly listed on the Australian Stock Exchange as a separate company by 30 June 2002, and is expected to be one of Australia’s 50 largest public companies.

In October the Company announced that former Southcorp Limited Managing Director and CEO Graham Kraehe would be Chairman of the new BHP Steel Limited upon public listing. The appointments of Ron McNeilly, currently an Executive Director of BHP Billiton, as Deputy Chairman-designate and Kirby Adams as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the new Company were also announced at that time.

BHP Steel is a leading flat steel products business, serving customers in the building and construction, automotive, packaging, manufacturing and resources industries. Its leading brands include COLORBOND® pre-painted steel, ZINCALUME® zinc/aluminium coated steel and LYSAGHT®. It operates integrated steelworks in New Zealand and Australia, and a range of rolling, coating and painting steel manufacturing plants and in-market processing and building products centres throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia.


Contact
Australia
David Goodwin
Steel External Affairs
Phone: +61 3 9609 3685
Mobile: +61 419 585 298
e-mail: David Goodwin

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