(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more details)
By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, July 24 (Yonhap) — POSCO International Corp. reported Monday that its second-quarter profit had increased 11.4 percent from the same period in the previous year, thanks to strong performances in the gas upstream and steel trading divisions.
Operating profit totaled 357.2 billion won (US$278.1 million) in the April-June period, compared with 320.6 billion won the year before, the energy and general trading arm of South Korean steel giant POSCO Holdings Inc. said in a regulatory filing.
Sales decreased 19.9 percent year-on-year to 8.86 trillion won. Net income amounted to 220.5 billion won, down 6.5 percent from a year earlier.
The earnings exceeded market expectations. The average estimate of net profit by analysts was 205.2 billion won, according to a survey by Yonhap Infomax, the financial data firm of Yonhap News Agency.
Its energy division, mainly involved in the exploration and production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), generated 208.2 billion won in operating profit on sales of 981.1 billion won, the company said.
Despite the seasonal factor, the LNG plant segment posted over 45 billion won in operating income, contributing to the stable quarterly performance, it said.
The global trading sector, which includes the trading of steel products and other commodities, recorded 149 billion won in operating income with sales of 7.88 trillion won.
POSCO International said it anticipates that business conditions will remain tough through the second half of this year due to China’s slowing growth and the sluggish economy in Europe, among other factors.
The company said it plans to focus on LNG and renewable energy and diversify the markets in trading as part of efforts for continued growth.
POSCO International has been involved in gas exploration since 2000, when it first began its gas mining project in Myanmar.
Its LNG segment has expanded since POSCO International merged with POSCO Energy Co., a POSCO energy affiliate engaged in LNG bunkering and power generation.