Strong increase in profit SSAB today presented its accounts for the first quarter. Profit after financial items increased by SEK 232 million and amounted to SEK 414 (182) million. - The increase in profit is due to stronger margins in the steel operations, stated CEO Anders Ullberg in a comment on the report. The stronger margins are due to both higher prices and lower costs for raw materials. Prices were 9% higher than during the first quarter of last year and the lower costs for raw materials are due to a weaker dollar. - Processing costs were at the same level as in the final three quarters of last year. Compared with the first quarter of 2002, however, processing costs increased by 8%. We are continuing to focus on cost trends. A reasonable goal for 2003 is to eliminate, through rationalisation, costs that arise as a consequence of increased volumes and, thereby, to limit cost increases to wage increases, says Anders Ullberg. - Generally speaking, no increased demand for steel in Europe has yet been noted but, during 2003, we expect a continued increase in volumes in the steel operations and largely unchanged volumes in the trading and processing operations which are focused on the domestic market, says Anders Ullberg. - Pending the second quarter we have been able to increase sheet prices by approx. 2% in respect of the 50% of volumes that are renegotiated, states Anders Ullberg. The price increases are a consequence of the fact that the large West European steel producers are continuing to give priority to price over volume. - We are especially pleased to be able to note that our focus on the niche products of quenched steels and extra and ultra high-strength sheet is continuing to develop positively, concludes Anders Ullberg. We are continuing to increase deliveries to both existing and new customers. Deliveries of these niche products increased by 22% and 32% respectively compared with the first quarter of last year. In total, deliveries of our niche products, high-strength sheet and quenched steels, were 20% higher than last year and 6% higher than during the preceding quarter. Public affairs Ivar Ahlberg Telephone +46-70-541 85 86 ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker The following files are available for download: