NEW YORK The North
American stainless steel market will likely grow 3 percent this
year, Outokumpu Oyj has forecast, creating "good momentum" for
the ramp-up of the companys Calvert, Ala., facility.
The companys North
American division, which it hopes will reach positive earnings
by 2014, recorded a 200-million ($267.2-million) loss in
2012, which Outokumpu chief executive officer Mika Seitovirta
said in an earnings presentation was due primarily do
nonrecurring costs associated with the ramp-up of the Calvert
Seitovirta said the Stainless
Coil Americas segment is expected to reach positive earnings in
its 2014 full-year results.
"You saw the end-demand of
stainless was 3 percent positive for this year, so its
good momentum for us with the ramp-up," he said. "Two hundred
thousand tonnes is our 2013 production target (for Calvert). We
are confident that we are getting there. The operation is
working, and we have growing end-market demand."
Seitovirta said the company
would be "ramping down" its hot-band imports from Europe in
2013 as the Calvert ramp-up progresses.
The company said that the North
American stainless steel market grew 6 percent last year, but
expects growth to slow to 3 percent from 2013 to 2017. In
contrast, the global stainless market grew just 2 percent in
2012 and is forecast to grow 4 percent this year.
The company told AMM in
January that it is targeting a 25-percent market share in North
America by 2014, and that it intends to be "competitive on
amm.com, Jan. 25).
The Espoo, Finland-based company
posted a net loss of 535 million ($714.6 million) in
2012including nonrecurring items of 200 million
($267.2 million)compared with a 180-million loss
the previous year on sales that fell 9.4 percent to 4.55
billion ($6.06 billion) from 5.01 billion.
"For Outokumpu, 2012 was
characterized by the global economic slowdown and our
announcement of the Inoxum acquisition. The soft demand in
Europe resulted in continued negative results for the full
year, despite the significant cost-savings programs,"
Seitovirta said in a statement. "Unfortunately, due to
continued weakness in the markets for stainless steel in Europe
and globally, the starting point for the new Outokumpu is more
challenging than we anticipated 12 months ago."