Salzgitter bemoans generous imports amid pandemic

Salzgitter suffered large losses in the second quarter, with imports compounding the damage done by the coronavirus pandemic, the firm says in a report seen by Kallanish.

In its first-half-year report, the group bemoans that “…excessively generous quotas” for duty-free steel imports into the EU provided no protection whatsoever even before the advent of Covid-19. The share of these imports was even higher in Q2 due to slack demand for steel in the EU, Salzgitter claims. Most affected were steel strip as well as plate, whose imports have contributed to accelerating the erosion of prices.

For plate, this applied to conventional construction steels as well as higher grades. Around 40% of EU plate imports currently originate from Ukraine. Together with volumes from South Korea, North Macedonia and Russia, the four nations account for almost 80% of all non-EU imports.

Salzgitter’s consolidated revenue, including its Strip Steel, Plate/Sections, Mannesmann Tubes and Trading units, fell -32% year-on-year in Q2 to €1.523 billion ($1.8 billion). Total crude steel production fell by -25% to 1.27 million tonnes. Shipments of its Trading unit fell -29% to 747,000 tonnes, with unit revenue down -33% to €526m. The group’s net loss came to €101 million, down from the breakeven it reported in the corresponding 2019 quarter.