Bowim raises sheet sales, sees Covid-19-related restocking

Bowim’s consolidated steel sales grew 1% on-year in 2019 to 513,547 tonnes thanks to the Polish distributor’s efforts to find new customers, it says. Earnings declined only slightly despite weaker economic growth, falling demand and lower margins.

Sales of sheet rose 12% in 2019 to 186,044t, but sales of pipe and profiles were down -9% to 97,261t and rebar deliveries were flat at 95,519t. Sheets took a 37% share in overall revenue versus 33% in 2018, at the expense of pipe, profiles and rebar.

The steel structures and metals industry segments each increased their share in sales by 2 percentage points to 24% and 18% respectively. The construction industry and trade segment saw their shares decline 1pp and 3pp respectively to 19% and 15%.

Of the steel procured by Bowim in 2019, 35% came from import versus 34% in 2018, Kallanish notes.

The firm says its import sourcing could be hampered by the disruptions being caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “At present we are seeing significant buying, as customers are unsure of the future and are filling inventories,” the distributor says. “Distributors are also unsure about the availability of material in the coming weeks, which is confirmed by the evident searching for material and movement in prices. A deferred fall in orders is highly likely, but only March data will show the scale of the problem facing the steel industry.”

Bowim’s consolidated revenue fell -4% in 2019 to PLN 1.32 billion ($314.9 million), while net profit slumped -72% to PLN 3.2m. Prices of sheet were depressed last year by weaker demand from the EU automotive industry, which increased competition among the EU’s sheet suppliers to find new buyers.