More price rises from British Steel

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BRITISH STEEL yesterday announced its second set of price rises this year and warned that still further increases were likely in the next six months to restore profitability, writes Michael Harrison.

The latest round of price increases, to be implemented between 1 May and 1 July, means British Steel's prices will have risen by between 12 and 20 per cent since the start of the year.

The company raised the price of steel plates and sections by pounds 12 and pounds 15 a tonne respectively on 1 March and cold-reduced coil by pounds 25- pounds 30 a tonne on 1 April. Yesterday it announced that sections would rise by a further pounds 15 to pounds 25 from 1 May, plates by pounds 15 from 1 June and strip products by pounds 18-25 per tonne from 1 July.

The increases will restore plate and section prices to near their levels of two years ago before chronic overcapacity throughout Europe and cheap imports from former eastern bloc countries prompted a disastrous collapse in prices and profits.

British Steel, which is estimated to have lost about pounds 160m in the year just ended, warned that further increases would be pushed through if the new price levels stuck.

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