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Swiss Steel Group achieves solid profitability in Q1 2022

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Author: Magnus Schwarz

Swiss Steel Group achieves solid profitability in Q1 2022
Swiss Steel Group is pleased with the figures for the first quarter (source. Unsplash)

Swiss Steel Group has reported revenue of EUR 1,028.8 million for the first quarter 2022 compared with EUR 751.6 million in the prior year quarter. This equates to an increase of 37 %. Sales volume decreased by – 6 % to 480 kilotons, from 510 kilotons in Q1 2021. Adjusted EBITDA came to EUR 75.0 million, up from EUR 44.5 million in the prior year quarter. Net debt amounted to EUR 849.6 million, an increase of EUR 129.1 million from EUR 720.5 million recorded at the end of 2021.

Business development in the first quarter of 2022

At 480 kilotons, – 5.9 % less steel was sold in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same quarter of the previous year (Q1 2021: 510 kilotons). This was attributable to a – 4.1 % decrease in the sales volume for quality and engineering steel and a – 17.9 % decrease in the sales volume for stainless steel, while the tool steel sales volume increased by 2.9 % quarter over quarter.

The average sales price per ton of steel was EUR 2,145 in the first quarter of 2022 and therefore considerably higher than in the same quarter of the previous year, when it stood at EUR 1,476 per ton. The transfer of higher raw material prices into our markets led to higher sales prices. Moreover, base prices were raised. The Group also started to implement the announced energy surcharges by the end of 2021 – passing on volatile energy prices and general inflation.

Higher average selling prices

Consequently, resulting from higher average sales prices, revenue in the first quarter of 2022 increased by 36.9 % to EUR 1,028.8 million compared to the same quarter in the previous year. The increase in revenue was spread across all product groups. By region, revenue climbed in all our sales markets, with the strongest rise in the American market (+ 43.4 %), supported by higher activity in the oil and gas industry.

Adjusted EBITDA was EUR 75.0 million in the first quarter of 2022, a significant increase on the same quarter of the previous year (Q1 2021: EUR 44.5 million).

Free cash flow (cash flow from operating activities less cash flow from investing activities) in the first quarter of 2022 was EUR – 108.1 million (Q1 2021: EUR – 85.1 million) as prices for raw materials and energy increased further, leading to temporary investments in net working capital.

Outlook

Based on our reported Q1 2022 results and our order book we expect a continued stable performance. However, the potential impact of the conflict in Ukraine on our business cannot yet be fully assessed. Temporary supply chain issues are likely to continue until at least the second half of 2022. In addition, extreme price turbulence for raw material, hikes in energy prices and the general risk of supply shortages for gas have recently increased again. On the basis of only immaterial disruptions, we continue to expect adjusted EBITDA to be in a range between EUR 160 and 200 million.

What Swiss Steel Group’s CEO says

CEO Frank Koch comments: “We continue to see good demand from end markets and strong profitability. This led to an adjusted EBITDA of EUR 75 million. It proves that we are on track with our transformation as we continue to strengthen our position toward becoming one of the most ecological and efficient special steel producers. In terms of profitability the first quarter was particularly strong for applications of our engineering steel despite a slight decrease in sales volume, bolstered by very strong contributions from our Sales & Services division.

Unfortunately, our results are currently negatively affected by the shortfall from our operations in Ugine following the severe accident in early January. While we look forward to ramping up the melt shop this summer, it has been pleasing to see the strong collaboration within the Group, supplying the ongoing Ugitech downstream operations from internal sources. It is with deep dismay that we observe the situation in Ukraine and the human suffering it is causing. To date, the possible effects of the conflict on our business cannot be fully determined. Uncertainties have increased once more due to the geopolitical situation.

At present no reliable statement can be made regarding its impact on supply chains, availability of raw materials and sustainable, cost-effective energy supply. We will continue to take necessary measures as the situation demands.”