,KUALA LUMPUR: Steelmaker Ann Joo Resources Bhd is banking on exports, targeting the booming China and regional markets to boost earnings amid demand uncertainties at home due to the pandemic."2021 is anticipated to be a challenging year for the steel industry. On the domestic front, the demand outlook remains uncertain given the impact of Covid-19 on the pace of construction activity," the company said. "The Group will continue to focus on exports, in view of the expected continued demand from China and Southeast Asia markets. The construction boom in China, which is fundamentally supported by the government’s efforts to pump prime the economy, should bolster demand in the medium term," it added. Ann Joo posted a net profit of RM6.2mil in the last quarter ended Dec 31, its first quarterly profit in 2020 as rising prices boosted its margin. "The rise in international steel prices in 4Q2020 was underpinned by the rollout of economic stimulus worldwide. To some extent, domestic steel prices tracked this upward trend," it said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today. The higher profit margin helped to mitigate the increase in overhead cost for plant shutdown.The company said plant shutdown costs were due to mandatory business closure during the Movement Control Order period as well as the scheduled and unscheduled repair and maintenance activities.
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