World economy and, as a consequence, stainless steel consumption have not yet felt the improvement expected once the war in Iraq was over. In Europe, the apparent consumption during the first five months of the year has only increased 0.3%. In the US, it has decreased 4.4%. The Asian market is the only one showing signs of recovery now that S.A.R.S is under control.
The production of ACERINOX GROUP in the first six months of the year totalled 1,059,703 tons, which is 33.6% more than that of the same period in 2002.
The parent company, ACERINOX, S.A. has increased the production in all its sections and its order-book is fully covered until the end of September. Profit After Taxes and Minorities has risen by 25% compared to that of the same period of the previous year.
The subsidiary NORTH AMERICAN STAINLESS (NAS) has strongly boosted its production, multiplying its exports by 5.7 in this first semester. Its positive results are encouraging even though its contribution to the consolidated results is lower due to the depreciation of USD against Euro. Since May, the start up of hot rolling for long products is taking place and making good progress. The construction works of No. 3 Cold Rolling Mill and No. 3 Annealing and Pickling Line No. 3 are being carried out according to schedule.
The South African COLUMBUS STAINLESS is having record production and all its producing parameters develop favorably. The building-up of the third Sendzimir Mill and other expansions progress satisfactorily. Its results are positive but have been affected by Rand appreciation.