Angang New Steel, one of the mainland's biggest listed steelmakers, yesterday posted a 25.44 per cent increase in net profit last year as steel prices soared amid growing demand. Earnings reached 1.79 billion yuan, or 60.7 fen a share, compared with 1.43 billion yuan, or 48.4 fen a share, in the previous year. The company will pay a final dividend of 30 fen a share. Turnover surged 60 per cent to 23.17 billion yuan from 14.48 billion yuan. Mainland steelmakers are benefiting from strengthening prices as demand from domestic shipmakers and carmakers grows. Shanghai Baosteel, the country's most profitable steelmaker, announced last week that net profit rose 35 per cent to 9.39 billion yuan last year. According to a research report by BOC International, prices of cold-rolled sheets, the bulk of Angang's produce, jumped to 5,551 yuan a tonne by mid-December last year from 4,679 yuan in 2003.