Weakened margins affect profit SSAB today presented its report for the first three quarters of the year. Profit after financial items declined by SEK 1,053 million to SEK 146 (1,199) million. - SEK 850 million of the drop in profit is due to weakened margins in the steel operations as a result of the steep drops in prices during the second half of last year and the first quarter of this year, says CEO Torsten Sandin in a comment on the report. - Prices bottomed out during the first quarter and since then we have been able to slightly increase hot-rolled sheet prices on certain markets. The balance on the market has gradually improved. Therefore, during the fourth quarter we will be able to increase most sheet product prices on most markets, adds Torsten Sandin. The price increases will have a limited effect during the fourth quarter, and the full impact will only be felt commencing with the first quarter of next year. -Our focus on costs and cash flow has yielded results. Despite higher volumes in the steel operations and wage increases this year of approx. 3%, our processing costs in absolute numbers this year are somewhat lower than last year. Cash flow was positive even in the seasonally weak third quarter and thus far this year has amounted to just over SEK 500 million, i.e. almost SEK 750 million higher than last year, concludes Torsten Sandin. ------------------------------------------------------------ Please visit http://www.bit.se for further information The following files are available for download: http://www.bit.se/bitonline/1999/10/27/19991027BIT00440/bit0001.doc http://www.bit.se/bitonline/1999/10/27/19991027BIT00440/bit0002.pdf