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Steel maker SSAB profit hits record, but outlook uncertain

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Swedish steel maker SSAB reported a bigger-than-expected jump in quarterly earnings on Friday on strong steel prices, but cautioned that the market outlook was uncertain amid rising inflation and supply chain strains.

SSAB said second-quarter operating profit, excluding extraordinary items, rose to a record 10.40 billion crowns ($1.02 billion) from 4.08 billion a year ago to beat a mean forecast of 9.10 billion, according to Refinitiv analysts' estimates.

The company is specialised in high-strength steels and has seen profits soar over the past year on the back of surging steel prices and strong output at its production plants in Sweden, Finland and the United States.

The company said in a statement it expected shipments to fall back in the third quarter in both European and Americas arms due to planned maintenance outages and seasonality, while prices were also expected to decline.

For Special Steels, its third division, the company also forecast somewhat lower shipments, but stable prices.

"The market outlook is uncertain, due to rising inflation, component shortages and bottlenecks in logistics chains, among other things," Chief Executive Martin Lindqvist said.

"There are also risks for disruptions relating to sanctions and other fallout from the war in Ukraine."

($1 = 10.2365 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard, editing by Supantha Mukherjee and Subhranshu Sahu)

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