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GER - Rays of recovery - Salzgitter optimistic for business in 2009

Reuters quoted Mr Wolfgang Leese CEO of Salzgitter as saying that it is a little more optimistic for its business in 2009 now than before. He said that business in May 2009 had been better than it had been since November 2008 and would become more stable later in the year. He said that Salzgitter aims to increase capacity utilization at its factories to 75% to 80% from currently 30% to 50% and did not see the need to put more workers on shortened working hours to cut costs and output.

Currently, 9000 workers have shortened working hours. He added that he expected the company to reach about break even at a pre tax level this year if markets recovered in the second half of 2009. Salzgitter swung to a first quarter pretax loss of EUR 98.3 million from a profit of EUR 292 million in the year earlier quarter after it wrote down the value of some inventory.

It is 26.5% owned by the German state of Lower Saxony and 10% are in the hands of the company itself. The rest is free float.

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