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Roman Abramovich’s steelmaker Evraz SA says first half profit nearly doubles

Russian coal and steelmaker Evraz Group SA said Friday that net profit in the first half of 2007 nearly doubled, as market conditions in Russia continue to boom.

Earnings rose 91 percent to US$1.13 billion (EUR800 million) in the first six months of the year, compared with US$568 million during the same period last year.

Revenue increased to US$6.02 billion (EUR4.27 billion) from US$3.83 billion a year ago, the company said.

The company's profit was 7.6 percent higher than a consensus forecast of seven analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Evraz said it expected strong market conditions to continue in Russia and that acquisitions in the United States and South Africa would contribute to a rise in revenue.

In January, Evraz completed the takeover of Oregon Steel Mills Inc. for US$2.3 billion (EUR1.7 billion), one of the largest investments in the United States by a Russian company. Evraz already owns steelworks in the Czech Republic and Italy.

The company said its full-year capital spending would increase to US$690 million (EUR489 million) as it makes efficiency improvements and safety investments at its OAO Yuzhkuzbassugol coal mining unit.

Evraz earlier this year took control of Yuzhkuzbassugol after two fatal mining accidents, including a methane blast at the Ulyanovskaya mine that was Russia's worst coal mining accident in more than 60 years.

Billionaire Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich holds 41 percent of Evraz's shares.

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