Severstal, Russia's largest steel producer, returned to profit in the second quarter.

It made a net profit of $192m between April and June. It made a loss of $290M in the same period in 2009.

The profit was hit by a loss from Severstal's discontinued Italian operations, which are up for sale.

Severstal also said that restructuring its loss-making US assets was ‘the highest priority’ for the company.

Chief executive Alexey Mordashov said: "We are well placed to exploit the opportunities in our markets given our competitive cost base, vertically-integrated model and strong financing position."