Corus loses £385 and closes aluminium businesses

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Corus steel group lost £385 million last and plans to sell its aluminium businesses, the company announced today.

The company, which has recently said it would cut its staff by 12,000 people, did not announce any new job cuts.

Corus has been hit hard by weak steel prices, a stagnating economy and the pound's strength against the euro.

"Last year was a challenging one for Corus and particularly so for our UK carbon steel operations," said Corus chief executive Tony Pedder. "We have progressed well with the necessary restructuring of our UK assets and the measures taken put us in better shape to benefit from any improved market environment."

He said the decision to sell the aluminium business stemmed from the recognition that Corus was unable to keep up with the pace of change set by the industry's leaders.

Operating profits in the aluminium divisions were £58m, compared to a £3m profit in stainless steel and a loss of £446m in carbon steel, Corus said.

Corus has three aluminum companies ? Corus Primary Aluminium, Corus Aluminium Rolled Products and Corus Aluminium Extrusions. The firms have interests in Germany, Canada, Belgium and China.

Mr Pedder said Corus planned to raise its steel prices next month.

The company urged the European Commission to impose tariffs on steel imports in response to President George Bush's decision to place tariffs of up to 30 per cent on steel imported into America.

Corus was formed by the 1999 of British Steel PLC and Koninklijke Hoogovens of the Netherlands.