LUXEMBOURG - ArcelorMittal steel reported a huge loss in the last quarter of 2008, and announced on Wednesday that job cuts could exceed a planned total of 9,000.
The group reported a nine-percent net profit fall for the year to $9.4 billion (6.4 billion euros).
The group said that it would continue to cut production in the first quarter of this year in response to the global economic crisis, and that job cuts could exceed 9,000, the figure signalled under a previous plan.
This was because the company was extending a voluntary departure scheme to production workers, finance director Aditya Mittal said.
For the last quarter of last year, the group reported a net loss of $2.6 billion owing to an exceptional charge of $3.1 billion in contrast to a profit of $2.4 billion in the equivalent period of 2007.
The group, by far the biggest steel maker in the world, said that it would continue to reduce production in the first quarter of this year because of the effects of the economic crisis on demand for steel.
But the group said that for 2008 it had achieved its target for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $24.5 billion, showing a gain on the 2007 figure of 26 percent.
Sales rose by 19 percent to $124.9 billion because market conditions at the beginning of the year had been strong.