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Aperam set to omit dividend as net loss jumps 80 percent

Keywords: Tags  Aperam, Philippe Darmayan, stainless steel, earnings report, elfi middelbeek

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 said.

Meanwhile, the board of directors will ask shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting May 8 to forgo dividend payments for 2012 to help reduce the company’s 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.

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