Aperam sees challenging months ahead

French stainless steel producer Aperam says the coming months will remain challenging for the sector but it expects better results this year compared to 2020, Kallanish learns from the company’s 2020 financial report.

Last year sales decreased by 14.5% versus 2019 to €3,624 million ($4,404m), mainly due to lower shipments and lower prices. Steel shipments in 2020 also decreased by 6.1% to 1.6 million tonnes.

Ebitda stood at €343m in 2020, compared to €357m in 2019. This is due to lower demand that also resulted in a very competitive pricing environment in Europe, and a negative inventory valuation, Aperam says.

However, thanks also to its “Leadership Journey” cost reduction programme, performance greatly improved in the fourth quarter. The combined benefits of a strong mix in Brazil, tight cost control and some economic improvement in Europe enabled the company to achieve “the best fourth quarter result since the 2017 peak despite still challenging market conditions”, the report continues.

The company’s Q4 sales increased to €916m versus €841m in Q3. Volumes benefitted from seasonal factors and the economic recovery in Europe while Brazil was seasonally weaker. Steel shipments remained stable at 431,000t in Q4 compared to Q3 as volumes in Europe picked up. The improvement was based on a better mix in Brazil, higher capacity utilisation in Europe paired with slightly higher prices, inventory valuation gains and cost improvement.