Australian producer Bluescope Steel reported a net profit of AU$126M (US$112M) for financial 2010, a turnaround of $192M ($171M) from the previous year's loss, on the back of a strong performance in Asia.

Bluescope chief executive Paul O'Malley said the company was pleased with the overall performance given the business environment in fiscal 2010 and the financial turbulence the previous year.

"We delivered an outstanding improvement in our Asian businesses, including record profits in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam," Mr O'Malley said in a statement.

"We also achieved a significant reduction in the company's permanent cost base.

"Also encouraging was increasing demand in Australia, strong export sales and good earnings results both in New Zealand and at North Star BlueScope Steel, our steelmaking joint venture in the USA."

Mr O'Malley said the highlights for the year was the overall turnaround in profit, the AU$340M cut in permanent costs on financial year 2008, the AU$116M lift in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in its Asian businesses against $21 million loss the previous year and an improved balance sheet.

Mr O’Malley said Bluescope expected an ongoing improvement in its Asian operations in the first half of fiscal 2011 and continue to benefit from cost cuts during the previous year.

‘‘We are seeing a modest real-time increase in export steel prices in our region for Q2 delivery,’’ he said.

‘‘Overall, we are planning for significantly improved market conditions over the medium to long term, despite the short term concerns.

“‘Over the last couple of years we have strengthened the balance sheet and improved the effectiveness of the global BlueScope operations, particularly the reduced cost base and improved productivity.’”