In the first quarter 2005, the stainless steel market has been driven by a continued strengthening of the raw material prices, mainly nickel, that is maintaining a historical maximum price with a 15% increase from the beginning of the year, and by a weaker demand in Europe than that of the year 2004.
In spite of this unfavourable scenario, the production of the Acerinox Group Mills of 599 Thousand Mt, has been 21.4% higher than that of the first quarter of 2004. The production in the Cold Rolling Shop, 379 Thousand Mt, has increased 37%.
* ACERINOX, S.A. has increased its Melting production, 226 Thousand Mt, in a 34.7%, and the one of the Cold Rolling Shop, 156 Thousand Mt, in a 50.5%.
The Campo de Gibraltar Factory is obtaining record productions in several lines, helped by the investments made in the last years.
The Net Sales, 466 Million €, has been 34% higher than that of the first quarter of 2004, and the Result after Taxes, 25.1 Million €, 29% higher.
* NORTH AMERICAN STAINLESS continues increasing the production in all of its Shops, and also its Market share in North America. The production in the Melting Shop, 197 Thousand Mt, has been 25.2% higher, and the one of the Cold Rolling Shop, 136 Thousand Mt, has increased a 35.4% against the same period of last year.
The Net Sales of the first quarter, 540 Million USD, has been 50.7% higher, and the Result after Taxes, 49.6 Million USD, 93.8% higher.
In March, the new Continuous Casting for Billets has started up, and therefore the production process of Long Products within the Kentucky Factory is already integrated.
The improvement Works of the No. 4 Cold Rolling Mill are progressing at a good pace and the foreseen start up date is maintained within the first quarter 2006.
* COLUMBUS STAINLESS has increased all its productions, in spite of the annual maintenance stops and the enlargement of the Melting Shop. The production of the Melting Shop, 175 Thousand Mt, has increased 4.2%, and the Cold Rolling Shop, 86 Thousand Mt, 19.3%.
The Net Sales of the first quarter, 281.1 Million €, has been 16.8% higher, and the Result after Taxes, 13.5 Million €, 11.9% higher.
* ROLDAN, S.A. has experienced also a positive evolution, and has contributed with a 7% to the Group Results after Taxes and Minorities.
* The Net Sales of the CONSOLIDATED GROUP, 1,146.5 Million €, has improved in a 25.4% to that of the first quarter of 2004.
The Result before Taxes, calculated according to the new International Accounting Standard (IAS), 125.6 Million €, increases in 25.5% the one that should have been obtained in the first quarter of 2004 applying such IAS and the Result after Taxes and Minorities, 76.7 Million €, a 26%. Had we continued to apply the Spanish Accounting Standard, The Result after Taxes and Minorities would have been 73.91 Million €, 32.7% higher than that of the first quarter of 2004. The impact of the application of the new IAS has been minor.