Unchanged profit SSAB today presented its accounts for the first quarter. Despite a weaker steel market, profit after financial items was largely unchanged and amounted to SEK 465 (478) million. - Towards the end of last year, we experienced a significant weakening in orders for sheet, says CEO Anders Ullberg in a comment to the accounts. Order books subsequently improved during the quarter but are still lower than last year. Demand for both quenched steels and ordinary plate has, however, continued to be strong. -Prices for sheet came under pressure towards the end of last year. We have prioritised margins in the steel operations instead of volumes but it has been necessary to accept price reductions of approximately 5% in local currencies. However, we were able to carry out additional price increases for plate products. The weaker Swedish krona reduced the effect of the price reductions and, in Swedish krona, prices were only 1% lower than during the fourth quarter of last year, says Anders Ullberg. - Processing cost trends have been positive and were clearly lower than at the end of last year. We have also experienced a positive and improved cash flow in the business operation. However, prices for coal and iron ore, which will increase significantly this year, are a cause for concern. This will affect our gross profit margins during the remainder of the year, concludes Anders Ullberg. ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by BIT http://www.bit.se The following files are available for download: http://www.bit.se/bitonline/2001/04/24/20010424BIT00620/bit0001.doc http://www.bit.se/bitonline/2001/04/24/20010424BIT00620/bit0001.pdf