SSAB's earnings down just under 15% on last year SSAB today presented its accounts for the first half of the year. Profit after financial items declined by SEK 122 million to SEK 786 (908) million. The comparison does not include the effect of SSP surplus funds which were included in last year's results in the amount of SEK 625 million. -Prices for sheet have continued to be under pressure, says CEO Anders Ullberg in a comment to the accounts. Therefore, as during the first quarter, we have chosen to prioritize price over volume. Our prices in the steel operations have thus been more stable than during previous downturns in the business cycle. -Demand for quenched steels has been strong, says Anders Ullberg, but our volumes have been restricted by available quenching capacity. Our new quenching line in Oxelösund is now ready to commence production after the summer. We will then have the possibility to once again expand within this prioritized product area. -By way of contrast, use of sheet within the telecommunications and vehicle industries has weakened noticeably. This has also affected volume trends for our niche products within high-strength sheet. Although we have signed a number of agreements for orders with new customers, deliveries of these niche products have been somewhat lower than last year. -It is difficult to assess trends during the second half of the year. We believe that volumes in the sheet operations can increase somewhat after the summer. On the other hand, gross profit margins in the steel operations will decline since, during the second half of the year, we will feel the full impact of the new, expensive coal agreements, at the same time as prices for primarily cold-rolled and metal-coated sheet continue to be under pressure, concludes Anders Ullberg. ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker