In the first quarter 2004, the stainless steel market has been driven by the good performance of the demand in all the main regions, therefore producing increases of prices.
In this scenario the production of the Acerinox Group’s Mills (493,157 Mt) has been 4.1% lower than that of the first quarter of 2003. Such decrease is due to the 29 days strike in the Plant of Campo de Gibraltar (Spain), although it has been partially balanced by an important growth of production in NAS, and by a lower one in Columbus.
Very much influenced by the above mentioned strike, the gross result of Acerinox, S.A. (29.96 million Euro) has been 7.5% lower than that of the first quarter of 2003.
North American Stainless has profited not only by of the favourable situation of the consumption in the US, but also of its increase of production in the Melting Shop (157,475 Mt) 54% higher than that of the first quarter of the previous year. The upward trend of the Long Products Division continues. NAS gross result (USD 40.5 million) triples that of the same period of 2003. In this quarter the third Sendzimir cold mill and the third annealing and pickling line have satisfactorily started up, and they are rapidly reaching their respective full capacity. The erection of a fourth cold mill, identical to the third, has been awarded start up in March 2006. It will imply an investment of USD 44 million.
Columbus Stainless has obtained a production in the Melting Shop of 167,684 Mt, 3.5% higher than that of the previous year. The evolution of results has been very positive with profits since January. Regardless a 19% apreciation of the South African Rand against the USD its gross result of 17.3 million Euro almost triples that of the first quarter of the previous year. The expansion works at the Cold Rolling Division are developing timely and they will come onto stream for October.