Steelmakers Arcelor and Mittal Steel yesterday reiterated that they expected their combined 2006 core profit to move between 12 billion to 12.5 billion euros (£8.3 billion to £8.56 billion).
"Market conditions are expected to remain favourable in the third quarter," they said in a joint statement, adding that third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) are expected to be in the region of 3.1 billion to 3.3 billion euros (£2.1 billion to £2.2 billion).
"That full-year forecast is exactly what they told investors and analysts previously," said Hermann Reith, an analyst covering Arcelor for broker BHF.
Mr Reith said while Arcelor's second-quarter EBITDA, announced yesterday, was below forecast, prospects were favourable for the rest of the year.
Mittal Steel announced last week it won 92 per cent of Arcelor shares, after a politicised six-month takeover, in which Arcelor sought a merger with Russia's Severstal.
"The combined performance of the two companies is a clear indication of the huge potential that we will be able to unlock through our merger," Arcelor Chairman Joseph Kinsch said yesterday.
Arcelor reported a 16.5 per cent decline in second-quarter core profit on lower selling prices and higher raw material costs.
Arcelor's EBITDA was 1.41 billion euros (£965.7 million), below the median forecast from four analysts of 1.74 billion euros (1.19 billion).
Mittal said separately that its second-quarter operating profit rose nearly 50 per cent from the previous quarter to $1.52 billion (£817.2 million) on sales of $9.23 billion (£4.96 billion).
Arcelor and Mittal gave no update on their disagreements over the new group's structure, particularly whether or not they would keep Canadian steel producer Dofasco, which Luxembourg-based Arcelor bought earlier this year, within the combined group.
Mittal had previously said it wanted to sell Dofasco, which Arcelor acquired for around $5 billion, to Germany's ThyssenKrupp, which had bid against Arcelor for the Canadian group.
The two companies also disagree about the role of stainless steel in the group, as Arcelor had planned a strategic review of its own business with a view to possible divestments.
There was no mention either of the management of the combined company. With Arcelor Chief Executive Guy Dolle widely expected to resign, investors and analysts said before the results that they were hoping to get an update.
Mittal's offer for Arcelor will remain open until August 17 to give shareholders who have not yet tendered their shares another chance to accept the bid.
The Rotterdam-based steel group, which is the world's largest steelmaker, is also under a legal obligation to buy out the minority shareholders in Arcelor Brasil, following the success of its offer for Arcelor, said Brazil's securities regulator CVM on Tuesday.