North American Stainless contributes to 50% of the Group Profit after Taxes and Minorities
The reduction of the stainless steel apparent consumption became more pronounced in the third quarter due to:
· High prices of raw materials, that have begun to decline recently.
· High levels of inventories in all the markets that have been reduced in this quarter, and we expect normalized levels at the end of the year.
· Lower growth of World Economies.
Thus, the apparent consumption of cold rolled products has declined 10.7% in Europe and 7% in USA.
The market has also been affected by the increase of production capacity, mainly coming from China.
In this context, the Acerinox Group has obtained a production of 1.76 million tons, slightly higher than that of the previous year, after having reduced production in the third quarter by 145,000 tons, mainly in the South African factory.
The results obtained by the Group in the third quarter show the deterioration of the market in this period compared with previous quarters, as well as the capacity of the ACERINOX Group to obtain outstanding profits in such adverse scenarios like the current one.
The following chart shows the most important figures of the Group in this business year, compared with those that had resulted if we had applied IAS normative in September 2004:
The results obtained in the third quarter, in spite of the weak market situation, show the success of the strategy of industrial and commercial diversification followed by Acerinox Group, as well as the increasing contribution of NAS to the results of the Group.
The Board of Directors of ACERINOX in the meeting held today in Columbus Stainless factory, Middelburg, South Africa, has agreed to distribute on January, 4th 2006 a first interim dividend of 0.07 euros per share, equal to that distributed the previous January, 4th 2005. As additional payback for business year 2005 was refunded an issue premium of 0.08 euros per share, last October 5th.