Steel firm SSAB sees Europe uncertain, US recovery
Saturday, 28 April 2012 | 00:00
Swedish specialty steel maker SSAB posted a larger-than-expected operating profit in the first quarter and said a recovery in the North American market was set to continue though the outlook in Europe was uncertain.
The company reported an operating profit of 479 million crowns ($71.34 million) compared to 621 million in the same period a year ago and the 315 million average forecast in a poll of analysts.
"Prospects for the future indicate a continuation of the recovery in North America, while developments in Europe are uncertain," the company said in a statement.
SSAB, which specialises in high-strength steels, said demand in Asia was expected to remain stable, despite lower growth in China.
Although Europe - which accounts for around 40 percent of sales - is still mired in its debt crisis, which has hit demand, SSAB said that it expected to be able to raise prices in the region.
"As a consequence of the price rises we witnessed on the spot market during the first quarter, we anticipate some price increases, especially within EMEA, during the second quarter," the company said.
SSAB's prices in Europe were down during the quarter as many of its contracts were signed in the fourth quarter when steel prices were under pressure.
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