SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) – Steelmaker Posco’s operating profit surpassed 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) for the first time in seven years due mainly to record-high profits from its overseas arms in Indonesia and India, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday.

Posco said it posted 64.9 trillion won in sales, 5.5 trillion won in operating profit and 1.8 trillion won in net profit last year. Its sales rose 7.1 percent and its operating profit jumped 19.9 percent on-year.

The growth was mainly driven by record-high profits from an Indonesia-based steel mill, PT Krakatau Posco, and India-based production plants for car steel sheets, Posco Maharashtra Steel, the firm explained.

Its affiliates, Posco Daewoo, Posco Engineering & Construction and Posco Chemtech, also saw good performances in the trade, construction and secondary-battery businesses respectively, the firm said.

Analysts said the steelmaker also benefited from rising steel prices after the Chinese government reduced steel capacity due to oversupply and environmental issues.

The outlook for this year may be bleak due to growing protectionism and a slowdown in construction and automobiles. Posco seeks to focus more on new sectors, including secondary batteries, amid growing demand for electric cars in the global market.

This year, Posco set the goal of achieving 66.3 trillion won in sales, setting aside 6.1 trillion won for new investments, up from 3.4 trillion won last year. By 2021, it aims to achieve sales of 2 trillion won in its new business segment.

By Shin Ji-hye