Aperam says challenging market for stainless to continue

French stainless steel producer Aperam expects the economic environment to remain challenging and high competitive pressures to persist in 2020, Kallanish learns from the company 2019 financial statement.

This year Aperam intends to intensify its efforts to increase efficiency and competitiveness. It will also continue in its efforts to encourage the European Commission to establish a level playing field for the stainless market in Europe. “In the fourth quarter of 2019 Aperam has faced the most difficult market conditions since its inception. This was due to unprecedented pricing pressure combined with a strong volume contraction from trade war induced extremely high import volumes. This was amplified by weak economic conditions in both Europe and Brazil,” ceo Timoteo Di Maulo says in the report.

In 2019 the company saw “… the worst stainless market environment since inception of Aperam”, it says. The company registered steel shipments of 1,786,000 tonnes, -9.4% lower than shipments of 1,972,000t in 2018.

The Stainless & Electrical Steel segment posted Ebitda of €275 million ($303m) of which €150m was generated in Europe and €125m in South America. This result compares with €422m for the year 2018. In Q4 2019 the weak economic environment in Europe and further destocking only allowed for a soft seasonal recovery post the summer effects. The seasonal volume decline in Brazil meanwhile was supplemented by the weak economy. Average steel selling prices for the Stainless & Electrical Steel segment fell slightly by -1% compared to the previous quarter.

In 2019 group total sales fell by -9.3%, to €4,240m compared to €4,677m in 2018, mainly due to lower shipments. Group Ebitda fell to €357m for the year compared to €504m in 2018.