In the first half of 2004 the stainless steel market has been marked by an improvement of the apparent consumption in the US and European markets, but not in the Asian market which we expect to upturn from September on.
In this scenario, the production of the Acerinox Group’s Melting Shops (1,084,276 Tons) has increased 2.3 % compared to that of the first half of 2003, regardless the strike which paralyzed for 29 days the activity of the Spanish Plant of Los Barrios (Campo de Gibraltar).
The parent company, Acerinox, S.A., has been affected by the above mentioned strike both in its melt production, which decreases 16.3%, and in its net result (48.1 million Euro) which decreases 10.5%. The Order Book covers the capacity of the Plant of Los Barrios until September.
North American Stainless has increased its melt production by 37.6%. Sendzimir Mill no. 3 and Annealing and Pickling Line no. 3 have been satisfactorily started up. Its turnover in the first six months (USD 775 million) is 98% higher than that of the same period of the previous year. Its result after taxes (USD 71.9 million) is 4.4 times higher than that of the first half of 2003.
Our South African subsidiary, Columbus Stainless, has increased its melt production 5.7%. Regardless the continuous appreciation of the South African Rand, its result after taxes (28.6 million Euro) is 3.4 times higher than that of the first half of 2003. The starting up of the new cold Mill will take place in August, 2 months before schedule.
The result of the Group in this first six months of 2004 has been satisfactory, having more than doubled the result before taxes (233.3 million Euro) 108.8%, with an increase of the turnover of 33.2%. The result after taxes and minorities (137.6 million Euro) exceeds by 77% that of the first half of the previous year, and is 9.5% higher that that of the whole year 2003. In 2004 the trend has been positive, with an improvement in the second quarter of 47% compared to the first one.