high earnings gloss over GRIM QUARTER

ArcelorMittal SA's record earnings for 2008 mask a grim last quarter characterised by a sharp drop in demand, followed by a steel price collapse.

ArcelorMittal SA's record earnings for 2008 mask a grim last quarter characterised by a sharp drop in demand, followed by a steel price collapse.

The company, part of ArcelorMittal steel group, posted a 65 percent rise in headline earnings to a record R9,5 billion in the year to December. Revenue grew to R39,9 billion.

But the good results mask the extent to which conditions deteriorated in the last quarter of the financial year. - Marcia Klein

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