(Releads with 2023 investment plans, adds Q4 sales and revenue data in final paragraph)
SAO PAULO, March 1 (Reuters) - Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau SA said on Wednesday its capital expenditure is expected to rise in 2023 driven by maintenance and expansion projects, as well as technological updates, as its fourth quarter results came in below estimates.
The company said capex is set to reach 5 billion reais ($955.55 million) this year, up from 4.3 billion in 2022, with most of that money being injected into operations in the state of Minas Gerais.
Gerdau had stated in late 2022 it would soon disclose plans to renovate the No.1 blast furnace of its plant in the Minas Gerais town of Ouro Branco, a project that its chief executive said at the time would take a total 10 years.
The company said in a securities filing the 2023 disbursements "will be directly related to the pace of demand in the markets where Gerdau operates, associated with the level of return on invested capital and consequent cash flow".
The announcement came as Gerdau reported a fourth quarter adjusted net profit of 1.33 billion reais ($254.18 million), down 61.7% from a year earlier and below forecasts as analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a 1.99 billion-real net income.
Steel sales in the period fell 15.6% to 2.67 million tonnes, driving net revenue down 16.7% to 17.96 billion reais, exactly 1 billion reais short of the median forecast of the polled analysts. ($1 = 5.2326 reais) (Reporting by Gabriel Araujo and Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Editing by Steven Grattan and Louise Heavens)