NEW YORK SSAB Americas, a
subsidiary of Swedish steelmaker SSAB AB, saw its first-quarter
earnings squeezed due to softer U.S. prices and lower
SSAB Americas posted operating
profit of 87 million kronor ($13.18 million) for the
three-month period ended March 31, down 87 percent from the 670
million kronor income recorded in the same quarter a year
The Stockholm-based parent
company attributed depressed earnings in the Americas to a
bottoming-out of prices in February, although it noted that
price hikes by several producers, including SSAB, have helped
"Economic activity in North
America and Asia strengthened somewhat, while, as expected, the
trend in Europe was very weak," Martin Lindqvist, president and
chief executive officer of the Swedish parent company, said of
SSAB Americas recorded 3.46
billion kronor ($524 million) in sales, down from 4.61 billion
kronor a year ago. However, that was greater than the 3.24
billion kronor in sales recorded in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, first-quarter steel
shipments from its Americas division fell 6 percent from the
year-ago period but rose 11 percent quarter over quarter.
The company noted that demand
from the energy segment grew strongly during the first quarter,
while sales from the heavy transport segment also increased.
Looking forward, it predicted that second-quarter earnings
would be hurt by a 150-million-kronor ($22.7-million) reduction
in earnings due to a planned outage at its facility in
"The second quarter will be characterized by continued weak
growth in Europe, although we do perceive a degree of recovery
on the Nordic markets, a slow recovery in the U.S. and
continued solid demand in Latin America," Lindqvist added.