Arcelor Mittal steel foundry. Photo: Arcelor.

Johannesburg - ArcelorMittal South Africa said on Friday it returned to profit in the first quarter from a year ago as it benefited from higher production and better prices.

Africa's largest steel maker said headline earnings totalled 81 cents a share for the quarter to end-March from a loss of 67 cents in the same quarter last year.

Liquid steel production for the quarter was 1.24 million tonnes from an output of 1.028 million tonnes in the same period in 2013.

The company said in a statement that it expects higher production costs in the second quarter of this year and for the market to remain subdued.

“We expect this to negatively impact our results,” it said. - Reuters