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Lower nickel, stainless prices hurt Acerinox

Keywords: Tags  Acerinox, North American Stainless, stainless steel, nickel, Elfi Middelbeek

LONDON — Acerinox SA’s 2012 financial results were hit by falling nickel prices and low base price levels for finished stainless products.

Acerinox posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) of €197.6 million ($258.5 million), down 42 percent from €340.5 million in 2011 on sales that fell 2.5 percent to €4.55 billion ($5.9 billion) from €4.67 billion.

The Madrid-based company noted, however, that tonnes sold rose 9.8 percent in the same comparison, attributing the discrepancy to falling prices, particularly in Europe.

The company’s melt-shop production rose 8.3 percent to nearly 2.2 million tonnes in 2012, mainly due to international expansion.

Acerinox said that the Spanish stainless steel market continues to be affected by strong domestic competition despite improvement in global consumption.

The company’s North American Stainless Inc. (NAS) unit in Ghent, Ky., saw 2012 sales volumes rise as revenue fell 11.8 percent from the previous year on a U.S. dollar basis. The parent company didn’t provide dollar figures for its U.S. subsidiary, but attributed the decline in revenue to lower prices.

NAS’ melt shop production rose 7.6 percent to 1.01 million tonnes last year. Hot-rolled processing increased 9.4 percent to 853,175 tonnes vs. 2011, and cold-rolled processing rose 13.3 percent to 664,435 tonnes.

Spot nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange averaged about $17,526 per tonne ($7.95 per pound) in 2012, down 23.2 percent from $22,831 per tonne ($10.36 per pound) the previous year, according to AMM’s pricing archives.

Stainless prices fell by a similar amount. Cold-rolled Type 304 stainless sheet declined 19.4 percent to $142.82 per hundredweight ($2,856 per short ton) from $177.11 per cwt ($3,542 per ton) in 2011.

AMM staff in New York contributed to this article.

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