Comments by the CEO

During the first quarter, we succeeded in reversing the negative earnings trend and showed a slight operating profit, SEK 26 million. The operating profit for the first quarter represents an improvement of more than SEK 300 million compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. The improvement is attributable primarily to higher prices in Americas and higher volumes in EMEA. The operating cash flow was negative during the first quarter (SEK -275 million), which is due to increased accounts receivable resulting from higher sales.                                                          

The beginning of 2014 was cautiously positive for the steel market in general and for SSAB as a company. Demand in North America was good and prices of standard steels increased. At the same time, we suffered from production and delivery disruptions due to extreme weather conditions in North America, which also resulted in higher costs for scrap metal, which is the primary input material for SSAB’s American operations.

Demand for steel within EU28 improved somewhat during the first quarter, however with continued price pressure in the market. Following a long downward trend, demand stabilized or showed a modest upturn as regards to some of our customer segments, albeit from very low levels. The positive trend in EU28 was to some degree counterbalanced by great uncertainty and lower sales to Russia and Turkey. We expect the American market to continue to develop positively in 2014, driven primarily by good demand from energy-related customer segments and the automotive industry. Steel consumption in the European market is also expected to increase slightly during the year, driven by general macroeconomic trends. The markets in Asia remain challenging, due to excess capacity and high inventory levels. However, we see some signs of a recovery from the mining sector in China and Australia.

On January 22 this year, we announced our ambition to combine with the Finnish steel group, Rautaruukki. SSAB Annual General Meeting took, on April 9, all decisions necessary for the completion of the combination and on April 14, we launched the formal share exchange offer to Rautaruukki’s shareholders. The acceptance notification period initially runs until May 12, but may be extended depending on the process of approvals from competition authorities. The combination is aimed at creating a flexible and cost-efficient steel company with improved competitiveness.

Martin Lindqvist
President & CEO

Invitation to SSAB's first quarter 2014 results briefing

SSAB invites you to a presentation of the quarterly report at 09.30 a.m. CET on Friday, April 25, 2014.

The interim report for the first quarter of 2014 will be presented by SSAB’s President and CEO Martin Lindqvist and CFO Håkan Folin.

The press conference will be held in English and live webcasted on SSAB’s website It is also possible to participate in the briefing via telephone.

Venue and time of briefing: World Trade Center (WTC) Stockholm, Kungsbron 1, Conference room Manhattan, 09:30 a.m. CET.

Telephone numbers: +46 8 505 564 74 (Sweden), +44 203 364 53 74 (UK), +1 855 753 22 30 (USA).

Link to webcast: Go to webcast

Instructions on how to participate in the webcast are available on SSAB’s website, including presentation material for downloading.

This information is such that SSAB must disclose in accordance with the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication on April 25, 2014 at 07.30 am.