Comments by the CEO
SSAB's operating profit, excluding items affecting comparability, for the third quarter of 2019 was SEK 300 million, down SEK 1,300 million compared with the third quarter of 2018. Lower earnings were primarily attributable to SSAB Europe. Group operating cash flow for the third quarter was SEK 1,038 (1,922) million.
Demand for SSAB Special Steels weakened during the third quarter, primarily in Europe. Shipments were down and operating profit was lower than the same quarter prior year at SEK 358 (536) million. Margins declined during the quarter mainly due to higher iron ore costs.
Demand in Europe was seasonally lower and weaker business conditions meant that the decline was more pronounced than normal. Operating profit for the third quarter fell to SEK -480 (460) million. Exceptional pressure on margins on the European market continued to have a negative impact on third quarter earnings, which were also negatively impacted by the planned mid-term repair of one of the blast furnaces in Raahe. Market prices of iron ore decreased during the latter part of the quarter and will lead to lower raw material costs for SSAB Europe during the fourth quarter.
Third quarter operating profit for SSAB Americas decreased to SEK 522 (790) million, primarily due to lower realized prices. Demand was relatively stable and shipments were up somewhat compared with the previous quarter.
Heading towards the end of the year, we see a more pronounced seasonal slowdown than normal. Several measures were taken already in the third quarter to cut costs across the Group; production rates were reduced on several lines and the smaller blast furnace in Oxelösund was idled, there was a significant reduction of temporary employees, reduced working hours and temporary lay-offs were introduced together with other costs savings measures. To achieve further reductions of cost and capacity, we will idle one of the blast furnaces in Raahe at the end of November. At the same time, our strong balance sheet, low net gearing and limited debt maturities the coming years give us a sound basis to continue to develop SSAB. The HYBRIT initiative, aiming to produce fossil free steel, is proceeding according to plan and is generating a lot of interest among our customers.
Invitation to SSAB's third quarter 2019 results briefing
SSAB invites you to a presentation of the quarterly report today at 9.30am CEST.
The interim report for the third quarter of 2019 will be presented by SSAB's President and CEO Martin Lindqvist, and CFO Håkan Folin. The press conference will be held in English and live webcast on SSAB's website www.ssab.com. It is also possible to participate in the briefing via telephone.
Venue and time of briefing: World Trade Center (WTC) Stockholm, Kungsbron 1, Conference room Manhattan, 9.30am CEST.
+ 46 8 5664 2651 (Sweden),
+ 44 33 3300 0804 (UK),
+ 1 63 1913 1422 (USA).
Link to webcast (https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/24h2hrar)
For further information, please contact:
Investor Relations: Per Hillström, Head of IR,
[email protected],+46 70 2952 912
Media: Viktoria Karsberg, Head of Corporate Identity and Communications,
[email protected],+46 8 4545 734
This information is inside information that SSAB AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, at 7.30am CEST on October 23, 2019.