22 Jun '11, 11am

S&P downgrades Nippon Steel

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Wednesday said it had downgraded Japan's biggest steelmaker Nippon Steel on concerns over its profitability in the face of rising commodity prices. S&P cut Nippon Steel one notch from A- to BBB+, eighth on a scale of 22 with a stable outlook, on concerns over the firm's ability to pass on higher costs of raw materials. "In fiscal 2010, Nippon Steel had to shoulder a net 200 billion yen ($2.5 billion) increase in costs for raw materials that it was unable to pass on to customers," S&P said in a statement, noting the firm's operating margins were well below 2007 levels. Iron ore and coking coal, the two main raw materials for steel production, have seen significant price rises in recent years in a market dominated by the three global mining giants, Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Brazil's Vale. Tokyo-headquartered Nippon Steel...

Full article: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/p-downgrades-nippon-steel-095521...

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