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Aperam

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Droopymaes
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European stainless overcapacity hampers sales
The European tube and flat stainless steel market is struggling with low prices despite orders from distributors having picked up slightly in recent days, according to service centres and re-rollers.
The market for stainless flat and tube products is still feeling the consequences of the global health crisis and weak demand from enduse sectors. With stocks very high in most European countries, destocking and uncertainty are still hampering sales. Some European flat stainless steelmakers continue to produce at full capacity and are adopting very aggressive commercial strategies.
“Unless Aperam and Outokumpu implement some stoppages to cut overcapacity, demand for stainless in Europe will not resume,” a coil buyer believes. Other mills in Europe, however, have reduced output by some -40% in the past weeks. Producers are still facing poor order levels and short delivery times.
Eastern European countries are currently driving demand in Europe, together with Scandinavia. Germany is particularly sluggish. The country is facing massive destocking and poor orders from service centres and distributors, sources indicate.
French activity is slowly picking up, while Italian stainless flats and tubes consumption has fallen by an average of -25% year-on-year in the second quarter. Prices for both tubes and re-rolled flat products have lost €50/tonne on average in June and more falls are expected.
Stainless hot rolled coil in Europe is at €1,650/t ($1,866) delivered on average this month. Cold rolled coil is at €1,780-1,800/t delivered on average, down some €30/t ($33.8/t) month-on-month, sources suggest.

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Russia decreases stainless steel imports in June
Russia decreased imports of stainless steel in June, according to national special steel association USSA. Imports amounted to 23,009 tonnes, down -10.7% on-month.
In May they were 32,640t, up by 9.4% on-year but down -10.9% on-month (see Kallanish passim).
June imports of stainless hot rolled flat steel decreased by -21% on-year and of cold rolled steel by -7.4%. But overall imports of stainless steel increased by 4.8%. “The objective situation in the Russian market forces importers to adjust their plans,” USSA says. This is reasonable given the demand decrease in the domestic market and the rise in steel prices in foreign markets, the association observes.
Earlier, USSA said that April and May will most likely be the last months when importers are able to maintain their procurement volumes at high levels before the Covid-19 pandemic impact strikes (see Kallanish passim). The main reasons for the anticipated trade decline are the strengthening of the Russian rouble, a decline in demand and a high level of stocks.

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Geen Acerinox topic (concurrent):

Acerinox signs financing for VDM Metals acquisition
Spain-headquartered stainless steel producer Acerinox has secured an €80 million ($92.6m) loan from BBVA bank with a maturity of five years to finance the acquisition of Germany’s VDM Metals.
The latter is specialised in specialty alloys production. The acquisition, which received the green light from European authorities in February, is valued at €532m.
“Spain’s stainless steel industry makes its debut in sustainable finance with the signed agreement,” Acerinox says. “Acerinox thus becomes the first Spanish company in the industry to link its finance costs to its sustainability commitment.” The financing is sustainable since the cost of the loan is linked to the evolution of emissions intensity – direct and indirect – per tonne of steel produced and the frequency of occupational accidents. The two indicators will be reviewed annually, Acerinox observes.
VDM is one of the largest European producers of specialty alloys and a large global supplier of high-performance products, used mainly in the aerospace, oil and gas, nuclear, chemical and automotive industries. The company has seven production plants located in Germany and the US, supported by four service centres.

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Aperam sees weak market continuing in second half
Global cold rolled stainless steel production is estimated to have fallen by -12% on-year in the first half of 2020, with every country experiencing a decline in output.
Average utilisation rate is estimated to have decreased from 76% to 63%, with a resulting increase of 2.8 million tonnes in overcapacity. Due to the stainless consumption drop in all major regions resulting from Covid-19 and demand weakness, coupled with new capacity in China and Indonesia, global utilisation rates should remain in this range in 2020, says French stainless producer Aperam.
Utilisation is expected to remain relatively low until at least 2022, assuming China does not address its overcapacity issue and there is no recovery in global demand. European producers are expected to remain under pressure as imports remain at a high level in a contracting market. Moreover, further capacity is coming online in 2020, in particular from Indonesia, Aperam says.
All Aperam’s non-essential and discretionary expenses have been frozen while capital expenditures have been reviewed down to reach about €100 million ($117m) in 2020. Half of this amount is for the new cold rolling and annealing and pickling lines in Genk.
Aperam started well into the year 2020 with a first quarter marked by a seasonal volume recovery and the exhaustion of some import quotas increasing demand for domestically-produced material. Prices remained flat. Towards the end of Q1 the company started to face significant Covid-19-related effects which continued over Q2.
Ebitda was €70m in Q1 and €49m in Q2. In H1 it was €119m versus €176m in H1 2019. Total sales in H1 stood at €1,867m compared to €2,268m in H1 2019. Steel shipments stood at 814,000t compared to 966,000t in H1 2019. Average selling prices were at €2,231/tonne compared to €2,272/t in the same period the previous year.


*** Extra Info ***
Acerinox second-quarter production lowers on-year
Efforts to reduce operating costs and the incorporation of VDM Metals allowed the group to neutralise the effect of Covid-19 and limit the drop in firsthalf Ebitda to -4% on-year, Acerinox observes.
Acerinox produced 417,000 tonnes of crude steel in Q2, down -26.8% y-o-y and -30.3% lower than in Q1. H1 crude steel output reached 1.01 million tonnes, down -15% on-year.
Hot rolled stainless steel production amounted to 353,000t in Q2, down -31.7% compared to Q1 and -31.3% on-year. H1 hot rolled output fell -17% y-o-y to 870,000t.
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