Ryerson looks forward to post-coronavirus market

US service centre chain Ryerson remains hopeful about the post-Covid-19 market, Kallanish learns from the company’s first-quarter earnings. 

Ryerson’s profits fell by about half on-year to $16.4 million on sales of $1.01 billion. In Q1 2019, the company earned $29.5m on sales of $1.23 billion. 

“January started slowly given demand weakness within key original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, verticals. Then, the pandemic tidal wave which gripped China in January and February exponentially spread and paralysed North America in March,” says ceo Eddie Lehner. “With respect to ACV (after the coronavirus), we remain hopeful and determined that as we collectively accelerate learnings about the virus and continue building virus response infrastructure to combat and eventually eradicate the virus, we will see societal and economic conditions normalise to the better side of current projections. We look forward to seeing all of you safe and well as we all work in common cause toward better and easier times.”

Ryerson is not issuing full guidance for the second quarter, in line with most other domestic steel companies. It notes, however, that pricing has been more resilient than shipment levels. 

“At this point in the second quarter, demand conditions have been impacted by temporary customer closures in-line with stay-at-home orders and virus driven demand shocks,” the company says. “North American April shipments trended -25% below March levels while the pricing environment has held up better than anticipated given faster-than-historical supply-side responses to decreased demand as well as commodity prices that were already below their historical 10-year averages going into the pandemic.”