Reduced demand hits Polish distributor, construction outlook strong

Konsorcjum Stali (KS) reported a -6% on-year decline in revenue in the second quarter to PLN 425.3 million ($108m), while net profit plummeted -56% to PLN 2.5m, Kallanish notes.

In the first half of 2019 revenue was thus down -7% to PLN 851m and net profit plunged -79% to PLN 3.6m.

H1 steel product sales declined -5% on-year to 219,900 tonnes, while KS-produced or processed product sales fell dropped -4% to 111,500t. Rebar sales dropped -2% to 101,400t and sheet sales fell -12% to 36,500t, but Z and G sections sales were flat at 29,800t.

The price downtrend during H1 raised expectations among buyers of further reductions, which curtailed demand, KS says. The exact opposite was the case in the year-earlier period. Steel demand fell mainly due to slower EU economic growth and the high inventories amassed by buyers at the beginning of 2019, KS says.

Polish apparent steel consumption fell -10% on-year in January-May, with automotive and white goods most affected. The construction industry, however, continues to have stable consumption at elevated levels.

Celsa, CMC Poland and Riva Stahl were KS’s largest suppliers in H1, accounting for 22.8%, 20.3% and 11% respectively of the distributor’s material procurement.

Although European economic growth has slowed, Polish GDP is set to grow 4.4% on-year in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020 thanks to the relatively high level of investments, private consumption and strong construction activity, KS concludes.