MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's largest steelmaker Severstal on Tuesday posted a $162 million net loss in the fourth quarter of 2009 but signalled confidence in the year ahead.
Severstal's loss compares to a larger $1.2 billion loss in the year-earlier quarter, when the global economic downturn was at its most severe.
In the third quarter of 2009, the London-listed company made a $71 million net profit.
Severstal's sales rose by 12 percent to $3.9 billion in October-December. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) went up by 69 percent to $630 million, driven by the strong performance of Severstal's Russian operations. European and North American mills posted negative EBITDA for the fourth quarter.
Severstal's chief executive Alexei Mordashov on Tuesday voiced confidence in the industry's outlook and the company's future performance.
"Solid economic growth in emerging markets and a gradual recovery of demand in mature markets have improved our outlook for 2010," he said in a statement released Tuesday. "We look forward to 2010 with confidence."
Severstal also said it would boost its investment in 2010 to $1.4 billion in capital expenditure from the earlier announced figure of $1 billion.