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Outokumpu profits fall; more job cuts slated

Keywords: Tags  Outokumpu, stainless steel, job losses, Mika Seitovirta, Elfi Middelbeek

LONDON – Stainless steel producer Outokumpu Oyj saw first-quarter earnings fall 80 percent compared with a year earlier as weak economic conditions weighed on prices.

First-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) totaled €12 million ($15.6 million), down from €61 million in the same period last year.

"The stainless steel market remained challenging during the quarter, mainly driven by continued economic weakness in Europe and partially also in the United States," chief executive officer Mika Seitovirta said.

Not all the news was grim. First-quarter sales totaled €2.22 billion ($2.9 billion), up 71 percent from €1.3 billion in the first three months of 2012.

"However, overall profitability remained at an unsatisfactory level, and we are taking decisive action to turn Outokumpu back to profitability," Seitovirta said.

The Espoo, Finland-based group also announced April 25 that it would be cutting 500 more jobs than it had initially anticipated as part of its four-year restructuring plan. A total of 2,500 workers will now be laid off.

Some 770 Outokumpu employees—570 of them in Germany—are expected to lose their jobs this year.

"These planned job reductions are a difficult consequence of the necessary measures that we are taking to reach €200 million ($260 million) in synergy savings and €150 million ($195 million) in additional cost savings, and turn the company back to profitability," Seitovirta said.

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