LONDON Aperam SA will ask
shareholders to forgo dividend payments after falling deeper
into the red last year.
The Luxembourg-based stainless
steel producer posted a net loss of $108 million, an 80-percent
jump from a $60-million loss in 2011, on sales that fell 17.1
percent to $5.26 billion from nearly $6.35 billion. Earnings
before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda)
tumbled 40 percent to $214 million from $356 million as steel
shipments dipped 3.8 percent to 1.68 million tonnes.
A fourth-quarter net loss of $52
million was up 13 percent from $46 million in the same period a
year earlier as sales fell 9.9 percent to $1.29 billion from
nearly $1.44 billion. Fourth-quarter Ebitda fell 18.9 percent
to $43 million from $53 million as shipments slipped 5.1
percent 407,000 tonnes.
The company expects Ebitda to
improve in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the last
three months of 2012, but it also expects net debt to rise due
to higher activity.
"Looking ahead, we continue to
remain cautious ... despite some positive signs of market
improvement," chief executive officer Philippe Darmayan
Meanwhile, the board of
directors will ask shareholders at the companys annual
general meeting May 8 to forgo dividend payments for 2012 to
help reduce the companys debt. The company has set a new
debt-reduction target of $650 million by the end of 2014.
Aperam also plans to cut capital
expenditures in 2013 and will extend its efficiency savings
program to 2014, targeting a further $150 million.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Steel First.