Salzgitter ends difficult year on bright note

German steelmaker Salzgitter says its strip steel and other activities showed strong signs of recovery in the final quarter of 2020, and this has held steady since.

The group’s 2020 revenue declined by 16% on-year to €7.1 billion ($8.5 billion) due above all to the drop in average selling prices for rolled steel products and lower shipment volumes. Crude steel production came to 6 million tonnes, versus 6.6mt in 2019.

Pre-tax loss was limited to €196 million, thanks to rigorous crisis management and the recent uptrend in performance, the group emphasises. Net loss was €274m, which comprise €71m in additional tax expenses against which the company has lodged an appeal.

At a press conference attended by Kallanish, Salzgitter chief executive Heinz Jörg Fuhrman emphasised that “the financial year 2020 was not a lost year”, thanks to various new activities. In terms of equipment investment, the company is working on the third hot-dip galvanizing line at strip mill in Salzgitter and the new heat treatment line at the plate mill in Ilsenburg. It is also pushing ahead with its decarbonisation offensive by implementing the “Wind Hydrogen Salzgitter”, “Green Industrial Hydrogen 2.0” and “Green Strip Steel” projects.

With explicit reference to the virtually unquantifiable risk of the coronavirus, Salzgitter expects in 2021 an increase in revenue to more than €8.5 billion, and a pre-tax profit of €150-200m.

Christian Koehl Germany