Klöckner lifts earnings, launches e-commerce platform

Germany’s Klöckner & Co raised both its revenues and operating income in the fiscal year 2017, Kallanish hears from the steel distribution group. The increases were especially due to the positive trend in prices as well as to internal optimisation measures, Klöckner says.

For its key markets, the group expects that real steel demand will rise by 1-2% in Europe and by about 3% in the USA in 2018. “If the current trend toward higher steel prices were to persist, this would have an additional positive impact on operating income,” it notes.

2017 saw Klöckner further accelerate its digital transformation. The share of sales generated via digital channels was raised from 13% to 18% as a result. As of the end of last year, the group is expanding its online shops into marketplaces by opening them up to providers of complementary products. The first version of the industry platform, also open to direct competitors, has gone live under the name of XOM.

In September, ceo Gisbert Rühl had announced the launch of XOM as a tool-for-all, to create “… one’s own shop-in-shop,” and in which Klöckner intends to hold only a minority stake in the long run. In that context, he said that digital tools will help to predict demand situations: “Allegedly, Facebook knows two weeks ahead of time if a couple separates,” Rühl said in a presentation monitored by Kallanish.

The distributor raised its revenues by 10% to €6.3 billion ($7.7 billion) year-on-year in fiscal year 2017 on virtually stable shipments of 6.1 million tonnes. Operating income rose by 12% to €220 million and net income improved from €38m to €102m, same basis.