Klöckner surpasses expectations, emphasises future for green steel

Klöckner & Co expects first-quarter-of-2022 Ebitda to be significantly above the current market expectation, it says in an ad-hoc release.

The German-based distribution group now expects an operating income – Ebitda before material special effects – of €130-180 million ($148-205m) for Q1, versus €130m in Q1 2021. In 2021 it achieved its best full-year operating income since its IPO in 2006, according to preliminary figures, amounting to €848m. The final figures will be announced on 9 March.

Speaking at this week’s “Zukunft Stahl” conference organised by business daily Handelsblatt, Klöckner chief executive Guido Kerkhoff emphasised that industry players need to be active in promoting carbon-free steels. Customers keep asking for it, and want to know about the progress being made, Kallanish heard him say at the conference. Klöckner was recently one of the first major groups to sign a purchasing agreement with Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel for products expected to come out of a new mill starting in the mid-2020s.

He underlined that the distributor has a role of a mediator or go-between for the customers. The complexity of steel products is a “jungle” of grades and of labels, of which the customer is not aware. Many customers know about their needs and applications “but do not understand the definitions of the suppliers”, Kerkhoff said. “We must manage that complexity on behalf of the customer.”

This complexity will increasingly include green steels, “and what ‘green’ actually means, and we need to create transparency here”, he continued. According to Kerkhoff, industrial customers will want to know about the share of CO2, but care little if the steel comes from the oxygen-route, from a DRI mill, or from an electric arc furnace.

Christian Koehl Germany