UPDATE 2-ArcelorMittal surprises on debt despite bearish outlook
* Sees 2015 core profit $6.5-7.0 bln from $7.2 bln in 2014
* Sees global steel consumption up 1.5-2.0 pct in 2015
* Net debt falls to $15.8 bln, lowest level since 2006 (Adds CFO comments, analyst comments)
By Robert-Jan Bartunek
BRUSSELS, Feb 13 (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal, the world's largest producer of steel, warned on Friday of lower profits this year but surprised the market by managing to cut its debt to the lowest level since the company was created in 2006.
The company, which produces about 6 percent of the world's steel, said it expected core profits to drop to between $6.5 and $7 billion in 2015, from $7.2 billion in 2014, as iron ore prices sapped earnings in its mining business and steel market growth cooled from last year.
A Reuters poll of 11 analysts had on average expected its core profit - earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) - to grow to $7.4 billion in 2015.
The shares initially fell as much as 4.4 percent at the open but were up 1.3 percent at 9.24 euros by 0924 GMT.
"People knew about the low iron ore price, but the low debt was a positive surprise," said ING analyst Jaap Kuin. Continuación...