International Steel Mills

'Too Early' to Assess Impact of Sanctions on Evraz: CEO

Written by Michael Cowden

Evraz does not expect to be hit by sanctions aimed at Russian banks and political elites after the country’s invasion of Ukraine, company executives said.

But the situation is changing quickly, and it’s too soon to draw any firm conclusions, they said.

Evraz“We believe it (sanctions) will not have a significant effect on the company,” Evraz CEO Aleksey Ivanov said.

But “it is too early … to talk about it,” he added. “The sanctions were announced just very, very recently. And we need significantly more time to analyze and find what’s the right way forward for us.”

Ivanov made the comments during Evraz’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call on Friday.

Evraz has more than $1 billion in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet. Most of that money is held by Russian banks, former CEO Alexander Frolov said on the call.

Russia invaded Ukraine last week. The U.S., the European and other allies such as Japan and Australia have reacted by imposing sanctions that target not only Russian financial institutions but also exports of key components such as semiconductors.

Many countries have also told their citizens to leave Russia because their airspace is being closed to Russian airlines and because airlines from other nations are halting air service into and out of Russia.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine and its far-reaching consequences overshadowed an otherwise stellar year for Evraz.

The steelmaker recorded a profit of $3.1 billion in 2021, more than triple the $858 million the company earned in 2020 on revenue that rose 43% year-over-year to $13.2 billion.

That strong headline result was underpinned in part by a solid showing from the company’s North American steel operations. Also known as Evraz NA, they consist primarily of a plate mill in Portland, Ore., oil country tubular goods (OCTG) and line pipe mills in Canada, and a long products mill in Pueblo, Colo. The latter also makes steel rails.

The North American division recorded a gross profit of $489 million in 2021, more than double $175 million in 2020 on revenue that increased 32% year-over-year to $2.2 billion.

Those gains came despite overall sales volumes slipping 2.9%, with a sharp increase in plate sales not enough to offset decreased sales of tubular and railway products.

The trend of strong plate sales and weaker OCTG volumes has shown signs of reversing in 2022, Evraz executives said on the call.

“We see a very strong demand on the tubular side for North America, especially in the OCTG segment. It will be better than the last year,” Ivanov said. “However, on the flat product side, we see some softening in demand in the first quarter of this year.”

U.S. steel prices in general are “still strong,” he added.

Steel Market Update prices plate but does not price OCTG. Plate prices stand at $1,805 per ton ($90.25 per cwt), roughly flat from $1,795 per ton at the beginning of the year and up 69% from $1,070 per ton in late February of 2021, according to SMU’s interactive pricing tool.

One more bit of news on North American operations: Evraz said its solar-powered rail mill in Pueblo is expected to begin production in 2023.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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