Outokumpu reduces debt in “… harsh” market conditions

Finnish stainless steel producer Outokumpu saw “… a significant reduction in debt” in 2019, the company says in a results summary sent to Kallanish. In a tough market however, most financial indicators fell sharply compared to 2018.

In his comments on the results, ceo Roland Baan says “In 2019, the European steel industry continued to suffer from the surge of imports and unprecedented price pressure caused by the US steel tariffs. It is evident that the EU needs to implement stronger safeguards and other trade defence measures to ensure a level playing field for all market participants. In this harsh market environment, we kept our focus on enhancing our operational efficiency and securing our competitiveness. Our ongoing operational excellence efforts delivered a 4% productivity improvement in 2019. Furthermore, we were able to release almost €220 million ($242m) from net working capital, and most importantly we reduced our net debt to €1,155m.”

In its outlook Outokumpu says that the stainless steel market is expected to strengthen during the first quarter, supported by typical seasonality. It expects its stainless steel deliveries to increase from Q4 2019 in all business areas. Adjusted Ebitda in Q1 2020 is expected to be higher than €73m generated in Q4 2019.

The group’s stainless steel deliveries dipped in 2019 to 2.196 million tonnes from 2.428mt in 2018.

Financially, sales also fell back y-o-y by -6.8% compared to 2018, to €6.403 billion. Ebitda tumbled by -46.3% y-o-y to €266m. The net result was a loss of €75m versus a profit of €130m in the year-before period.