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Why the BlueScope Steel Limited share price just hit a multi-year high 

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The BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL) share price hit a multi-year high today after the company announced the results for the half year ended December 31. At the time of writing, shares in BlueScope are up 4.5% to $16.18. 

The Australian steel giant reported underlying EBIT of $517 million, an 11% decline from the previous corresponding period due to higher production costs and raw material input prices growing faster than steel prices. However, this result was good enough to defy expectations, exceeding the $460 million EBIT guidance from December 2017. Reported NPAT increased 23% to $441 million, thanks to gains from the US tax reform. 

BlueScope enjoyed two years of strong operating cash flow and halved its net debt to $262 million, reducing gearing to 4.3%. The company will offer a 14% franked interim dividend of 6 cents per share and extend its on-market share buy-back plan by a further $150 million. 

BlueScope expects earnings to surge in the second half of FY 2018, with underlying EBIT up 25% on the current period. 

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Motley Fool contributor Tommaso Autorino has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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