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ArcelorMittal grew profit by 30 percent last year

ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill. ArcelorMittal turned $5.4 billion in profit last year.

ArcelorMittal, one of Northwest Indiana’s largest employers, made $5.4 billion last year, a 30.6 percent year-over-year increase.

But spokeswoman Mary Beth Holdford said Northwest Indiana steelworkers may not get profit-sharing bonuses if U.S. operations weren't profitable in the fourth quarter. The multinational steel company operates in 20 different countries across the globe and often doesn't give bonuses to its local workers even when it turns an overall profit.

The Luxembourg-based steelmaker had another good year after turning a $1.8 billion profit in 2016. ArcelorMittal made $1.2 billion in operating income in the fourth quarter, a 52.7 percent year-over-year increase.

The world’s largest integrated steel and mining company earned $8.4 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amoritization, or EBITDA, last year. That included $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter, a 28.9 percent increase year-over-year.

“The combination of improving market fundamentals and delivery against our strategic objectives contributed to a successful year for the company,” Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said. “Action 2020 has delivered half of its targeted EBITDA gains and we have succeeded in transforming the company’s balance sheet. While we will retain a deleveraging bias, we are also investing selectively in opportunities that will strengthen the foundations of sustainable value creation. The market environment remains supportive but the industry must continue to address the twin challenges of overcapacity and unfair trade.”

ArcelorMittal shipped out 85.2 million tons of steel last year, including 21 million tons in the fourth quarter. Steel shipments were up 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.6 percent for the year.

The steelmaker lowered its debt to $10.1 billion at the end of 2017, down from $12 billion at the end of the third quarter.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.