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    Novolipetsk metal giant Q1 U.S. GAAP net profit rises 28.3%

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    MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti) - Novolipetsk Metal Combine (RTS: NLMK) said Tuesday its U.S. GAAP net profit rose 28.3% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year to $545.9 million.

    NLMK, one of Russia's largest steel and rolled stock producers, said its sales dropped 12% in 2006 Q1 year-on-year to $1.12 billion, gross profit fell 32% to $444 million, operating profit was down 38% to $380 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) declined 40% to $390 million.

    The company attributed lower financial indices to falls in the global steel price.

    But NLMT official Anton Bazulev said the company expected to perform better in 2006 than in 2005.

    "Our strategy of strengthening vertical integration and increasing the share of products with high added value and boosting our operational efficiency, combined with a market rebound, means we can expect a 15% increase in income in 2006 compared with 2005," Bazulev said.

    Vladimir Lisin, the chairman of the NLMK board of directors, controls 89.85% of the company's stock.

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