In the first quarter 2007 the stainless steel market has been characterized by a strong and sustained demand in all the markets. The Nickel price has increased more than 50% in this first quarter and currently it is 3 times higher than it was in April 2006. Consequently, the alloy surcharges have dramatically increased. The resulting high prices have created a certain pressure in the base prices. Even in the Far East, where the alloy surcharge is not applied, the prices have significantly increased. The euro appreciation continues affecting the competitiveness of the European producers and it is attracting the imports from third countries.
ACERINOX Group productions are higher than the outputs achieved in the first quarter 2006. The Melting Shop production, 659,828 Mt, is 11.1% higher and the cold rolling mill output, 389,135 Mt, has increased by 4.7%. Long finished products output, 56,809 Mt, is 8.5% higher than the production of the first quarter 2006.
Net Sales during the first quarter, 2,144 million euros, is 84% higher than the invoiced figure achieved in the same period the year before. Result before taxes, 331 million euros, is 9.4 times the figure obtained in the first quarter 2006. Result after taxes and minorities, 210.2 million euros is 9.1 times the result achieved during the same period the previous year.
North American Stainless stands out once more for its contributions to the result after taxes and minorities with 35.4% of the total result of the Group, followed by ACERINOX, S.A. with 30%.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ACERINOX, S.A. Board of Directors, in its meeting held today, has resolved to summon the General Shareholders Meeting, which will be held on the 14th June.
Mr. Muñoz Cava, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, who has run the Company so successfully since its establishment 37 years ago, will end his mandate as Board Director in this General Shareholders Meeting.
Due to the fact that he will 71next July, he will not stand for the re-election, and the Board of Directors will appoint him Honorary Chairman, as an acknowledgment of his decisive role in the development, growth and consolidation of the company as a world leader in the stainless steel sector.
He leaves the company in its best moment, with investments in Spain, United States and South Africa, which will allow it to achieve a production of 3.5 million Mt in year 2009.
To replace him, the Board of Directors will appoint Mr. José María Aguirre González as non executive Chairman. The Board of Directors has appointed Mr. Rafael Naranjo Olmedo as Chief Executive Officer, who at present is Board Director and Managing Director of the company. From the General Shareholders Meeting he will hold his new position.
Likewise, the Board of Directors will propose to the General Shareholders Meeting the appointment of the following persons as Board Directors:
Mr. Yokio Nariyoshi, NISSHIN STEEL Managing Executive Officer
Mr. Fernando Mayans Altaba, representing CORPORACIÓN FINANCIERA ALBA
Mr. Clemente Cebrián Ara, representing CASA GRANDE DE CARTAGENA
PAYMENT TO SHAREHOLDERS
Lastly, ACERINOX, S.A. Board of Directors has resolved to propose to the General Shareholders Meeting a complementary dividend of 0.15 euros per share, which is 25% higher than the dividend paid in the previous year an d an issue premium refund of 0.10 euros, which will be effective in the last quarter of the year. Consequently, the total payment of year 2007 will be 0.45 euros, which is 32.4% higher to that of 2006.