SSAB today reported its results for the first three quarters of 2005. Profit after financial items for the third quarter slightly exceeded the record result posted last year and amounted to SEK 933 (923) million. Profit for the first three quarters thereby increased by SEK 1,947 million to SEK 4,473 (2,526) million. Cash flow for the same period amounted to SEK 3,931 (1,594) million. - During the third quarter we have, among other things, focused on our processing costs which, for the quarter, were approx. on the same level as last year, emphasises the President, Anders Ullberg, in a comment on the report. - The cash flow is very strong despite the fact that, due to increased prices for raw materials and steel products, working capital has increased by approx. SEK 800 million. We have, however, been able to continue reducing the outstanding credit periods granted to our customers, adds Anders Ullberg. Global steel consumption in 2005 is expected to increase to a new record level of just over 1,000 million tonnes. Growth is, though, concentrated on Asia – first and foremost China, where steel consumption continues to grow rapidly. - In Europe, we estimate the underlying demand for steel remaining approx. unchanged compared with last year, while it is decreasing somewhat in the United States. Based on the agreements concluded pending the fourth quarter, it is estimated that the steel operation's prices in local currencies will, on average, be marginally higher than during the third quarter, says Anders Ullberg. - Demand for our core niche products, quenched steels as well as extra and ultra high-strength sheet, remains strong on all markets. Following the completion during the summer of the first of three stages of an investment programme to eliminate bottlenecks in the quenched steels flow, we are better placed to meet the increasing demand from our customers, concludes Anders Ullberg.