Aubert & Duval for sale as Erasteel’s sales improve

French miner Eramet is still looking for a buyer for its troubled French subsidiary Aubert & Duval’s (A&D). The company has recently turned down an offer for a takeover. “The sale of this asset, which is strategic to the aerospace sector, remains the Group’s preferred option in time,” Eramet states in its Q1 financial report.

Together with high-speed steel producer Erasteel, A&D is part Eramet’s high-performance alloys division. Turnover for the division stood at €155 million ($187) in Q1 2021, a 21% year-on-year fall. A&D registered a 27% y-o-y sales decline due to the crisis in the aerospace sector. Eramet expects global automotive output to increase this year but the aircraft industry is forecast to continue underperforming.

A&D has registered “a slow recovery” in aircraft orders in the first quarter but production in the sector remains well below pre-crisis levels. A&D’s energy and defence turnover grew by 40% y-o-y in the first quarter but the aerospace sector represents over 60% of its sales, Kallanish notes.

Sales are improving for high-speed steels and Erasteel says it is gaining market share. Order books are supported “by the development of new nuances or products adapted to the American market… Stable sales reflect the return of high-speed steel sales volumes to Q1 2020 levels.” Erasteel reported flat y-o-y sales at €41m as the automotive industry continues to recover. Global sales for light-duty vehicles were up 16% in Q1 2021 thanks to the fast Chinese automotive rebound. The transport industry represents over half of Erasteel’s sales.

Eramet’s first quarter 2021 turnover saw an 8% y-o-y growth reaching €838m, Kallanish notes.

Natalia Capra France