UPDATE 1-Brazil steelmaker Usiminas beats Q4 profit estimates, plans to raise investment in 2020

(Adds details and forecasts for 2020)

By Alberto Alerigi Jr.

SAO PAULO, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Brazilian steelmaker Usiminas SA on Friday reported bigger-than-expected net income in the fourth-quarter, as higher iron ore sales offset weaker results in steel operations.

In a securities filing, the company said net profit hit 268 million reais ($61.6 million), reversing a loss of 139 million reais in the previous quarter, though 33% lower year-on-year.

Analysts, on average, expected net income of 52.3 million reais, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

Separately, Usiminas said it aims to invest 1 billion reais ($231 million) in 2020, 45% more than in 2019 and more than double the 463 million reais invested in 2018, with plans to renovate its blast furnace in Southeastern city of Ipatinga.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of the company’s operating performance also known as EBITDA, grew by 22% from the fourth-quarter of 2018 to 447 million reais, above an estimate of 387 million reais compiled by Refinitiv.

Usiminas’ iron ore sales jumped 65% year-on-year and 2% compared with the third-quarter to 2.5 million tonnes. Steel sales, however, declined 2% in the fourth-quarter from the same period the year before.

Cost of goods sold climbed 17% year-on-year to 3.58 billion reais.

The company also reported a net debt/Ebitda ratio of 1.6, the same as in the end of 2018, but below the 1.7 level seen in the third-quarter.

$1 = 4.3503 reais
Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr; Writing by Gabriela Mello
Editing by Jason Neely and Steve Orlofsky

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