Klöckner confident on extended pricing recovery

Steel distributor Klöckner is confident that there will not be any sudden price slumps this year, with price increases possibly extending beyond the third quarter, CEO Gisbert Rühl told Platts.

“The market is volatile of course, but there will not be continued price drops,” said Rühl at a press call on Wednesday, adding that he also does not expect a “bursting bubble” with sudden falls.

The European and US steel markets are recovering, thanks to anti-dumping measures plus increasing iron ore and scrap prices, said Rühl, highlighting, however, that the recovery is not being driven by growing demand.

In its outlook for 2016, Klöckner said it expects a growth in real steel demand of 2%, both in Europe and the US. Positive effects are forecast to come from the construction industry (with France being the only difficult market), the automotive sector and a fairly stable mechanical engineering industry. The energy industry is expected to decline further, especially in the US.

As reported, Klöckner will also see changes in its supervisory board this year, with ex-Tata Europe CEO Karl-Ulrich Köhler and investor Friedhelm Loh, who holds 25.5% in Klöckner, standing for election at the annual meeting next week.

Köhler joined Loh’s manufacturing company Rittal after leaving Tata in March. “I am very satisfied with Loh’s decision to take a seat on the board. I expect positive impulses coming from Loh and Köhler for the company. If Köhler had not joined Loh, we probably would have asked him ourselves to join the board,” said Rühl.

Laura Varriale, PLATTS