UPDATE 1-Brazil's Usiminas swings to loss as steel demand falls

miércoles 29 de octubre de 2014 07:38 GYT

(Adds detail and context)

By Stephen Eisenhammer

RIO DE JANEIRO Oct 29 (Reuters) - Brazilian steelmaker Usiminas posted a net loss of 24 million reais ($9.8 million) in the third quarter, as economic weakness in Latin America's largest economy hurt steel demand.

Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, as the firm is formally called, said a sharp fall in iron ore prices also hit its bottom line.

The swing into the red comes at a difficult time for the company, which predominantly supplies flat steel to Brazil's auto-industry, as it reels from a boardroom battle between its two largest shareholders that resulted in the resignation of its chief executive last month.

Former CEO Julian Eguren had been widely heralded for leading a turnaround at the steelmaker, but was pushed out by major shareholder Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp over accusations of receiving illegitimate payments.

The other main shareholder Ternium SA, where Eguren was an employee before Usiminas, objects to his dismissal and has pushed for him to be reinstated.

A net loss in the quarter is in sharp contrast to a 115 million reais profit in the same period last year when the market was beginning to gain confidence in Usiminas as a turn-around story after years of volatile results.

The company posted a 34 percent drop in adjusted EBITDA to 357 million reais. Net revenue for the quarter was 2.91 billion reais. A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast EBITDA of 398.4 million reais.   Continuación...