SSAB faced a tough market in fourth quarter resulting in an operating loss of SEK 802 million ($94.4 million). Low volumes and steel prices in North America and Europe and a maintenance outage at SSAB Special Steels were contributing factors. For the full year 2015, SSAB posted an operating loss of SEK 128 million ($15.2 million) compared to a profit of SEK 894 million ($106 million) in 2014.
President & CEO Martin Lindqvist commented, “The fourth quarter was characterized by a tough market with global overcapacity, volatile prices of raw materials and pressure on steel prices. Falling prices of raw materials and continued high imports from Asia have exerted further pressure on steel prices both in North America and Europe. Customers have delayed orders and reduced their inventories hoping to take advantage of lower prices at the beginning of 2016. Underlying demand for steel was higher than apparent demand and we estimate that volumes will improve in all markets during the first quarter of 2016, once apparent demand aligns with underlying demand.”
SSAB Americas faced continued destocking by service steel centers in fourth quarter. Falling prices and volume were only partially offset by lower raw material costs.
North American sales in fourth quarter were down 34 percent year-over-year to SEK 2,321 million ($276 million) and down 25 percent compared to third quarter 2015. Full year sales slid 20 percent year-over-year to SEK 11,936 million ($1.4 billion).
Shipments were 435,000 tonnes in Q4, down 14 percent from 488,000 in Q4 2014. Full year shipments for SSAB Americas totaled 1.887 million tonnes, a decrease of 9 percent as compared to 2.065 million tonnes the previous year.
In the outlook comments SSAB said North American demand for heavy plate at end-customers is expected to be relatively stable during the first quarter of 2016. With service center destocking ending in fourth quarter, demand is expected to improve during the first quarter of 2016. High import levels, primarily from Asia, may continue to negatively impact the industry in both North America and Europe.
SSAB Group Results
SSAB’s shipments during 2015 totaled 6,436 thousand tonnes, up 18 percent from 2014. Crude steel production was up 21 percent and steel production was up 26 percent compared with the full-year 2014. Sales for the full year were SEK 56,864 million ($6.7 billion), up 19 percent year-over-year.
SSAB’s shipments during the fourth quarter were 1,460 (1,636) thousand tonnes, down 5 percent compared with the third quarter of 2015 and down 11 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2014.
Crude steel production was up 5 percent compared with the third quarter of 2015, but down 12 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2014. Steel production was down 2 percent compared with the third quarter of 2015 and down 8 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2014. Sales for the fourth quarter were SEK 12,499 million ($148.7 million), down 18 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2014.
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