The founder and chief executive of Polish steel distributor Stalprofil, Jerzy Bernhard, has died aged 69 of natural causes, the company informs.
For many years Bernhard “changed the landscape and created new trends in the steel and infrastructure investment industries”, Stalprofil observes. The firm is yet to announce who will replace him as ceo.
Despite being a buyer of steel, Bernhard championed the need for measures to protect EU mills from lower-priced imports, arguing that steel is a strategic industry for economic development.
At last September’s European Economic Congress he said it was in distributors’ interests to support local mills as they are a “stabilising factor” in the market (see Kallanish passim). The impact of imports on the EU’s domestic industry will be even greater now that Covid-19 has curbed demand and the safeguard quota was recently increased, he added then.
Stalprofil’s revenue in the nine months through September 2020 rose 8% on-year to PLN 1.16 billion ($308.5 million), while net profit surged 23% to PLN 19.9m. Lower demand on account of the pandemic led to reduced steel prices, forcing the firm to recognise a PLN 926,500 impairment loss on inventory.