Steel product producer Sheet Steel yesterday reported a 11.5 percent rise in nine-month net profits to 0.22 million euros as it slashed its long-term liabilities and improved its reserves. The result compared with a net profit of 0.20 million euros in the first nine months of 2001. The steelmaker said the improvement in nine-month figures came after it managed to trim its long-term liabilities by 9.6 percent and, at the same time, increased its reserves and net worth. Sales were higher on a year-on-year basis as the company managed to buck the economic slowdown, Sheet Steel said. Turnover went up by 66 percent to 10.1 million euros from 6.72 million euros last year. The nine-month figures exceeded the whole of last year’s sales by 1.18 million euros as a result of a substantial increase in the sales of sheet tubing which accounted for 23 percent of total sales. Based on its order book, with a total value of 4.6 million euros at the end of September, full-year results are expected to increase in line with nine-month gains, Sheet Steel forecast. In addition to selling its products on the domestic market, Sheet Steel also exports to European, African and Middle Eastern countries. It also has a minor stake in a Romanian steel manufacturer. According to the Aluminum Association of Greece, 54 percent of the sector’s revenues last year came from exports, slightly half of which went to the EU market. Exports of semi-finished aluminum rose by 8 percent in the first half of the year. With Europe facing an economic slowdown, exports for the full year are projected to grow at the half-year pace. Sheet Steel shares closed at 0.65 euros yesterday, up 1.56 percent.