ACERINOX has demonstrated in 2004 the success in its strategic plan of production globalisation and expansion in the international markets.

ACERINOX has demonstrated in 2004 the success in its strategic plan of production globalisation and expansion in the international markets.

The stainless steel market has been characterized during 2004 by an excellent growth of China’s consumption, greater than 20% and in the United States of 12%, in addition to a reasonable growth in the European Union of 6%.

The raw material prices have reached historical record levels, despite the fact that there has been no shortage at any time, causing strong increases on the alloy surcharges. Those have been accepted by the market, but that have prevented, in addition to the Euro revaluation, increases on base prices in Europe, which have been below those of the year 2000. Due to this fact, the European industry has not reached significant margins, in spite of the good consumption figures stated above.
· The ACERINOX, S.A. Factory in the Campo de Gibraltar suffered a 29 days strike, as well as important failures in the Electricity Supply. The Melt Shop output was 920,736 Mt, 9% lower than that of 2003. The net profit of the Parent Company, 103 million Euros, was 0.5% higher than previous year.
· NORTH AMERICAN STAINLESS has increased the Melt Shop production of its Kentucky Mill 27.8%, reaching 690,882 Mt, with record productions in all its divisions. The net sales, 1,707 million USD has duplicated that of the previous year. Results after taxes, 168.3 million USD is 4.6 times that of 2003, and its net Cash Flow, 222.8 million USD is 2.8 times higher. NORTH AMERICAN STAINLESS has lead the contribution to the Consolidated Group result after taxes and minorities with a 44%.

· COLUMBUS STAINLESS (South Africa) has had a very satisfactory performance, reaching a new historical maximum in its Melting Shop production of 718,094 Mt, an 11.6% more than the previous year. Despite the strong impact that the Rand appreciation produces in the South African exporting Companies, it has obtained a result after taxes of 51.7 million Euros, with a net Cash Flow of 73.4 million Euros.
· ROLDAN, S.A. has obtained record productions and profits
· The Trading Companies have reached a good level of Sales and very positive results.

The Group’s consolidated Net Sales, 4,041 million Euros, has been 39% higher than that of 2003. The Group’s Profit after taxes and minorities, 302.9 million Euros has improved in a 141% that of the previous year. A new record for the Group has been achieved.
The Board of Director’s, in its meeting held on 23rd of February has agreed to distribute a second Interim Dividend on account of the year 2004, of 0.07 gross Euros per share, a 21.7% higher to that of the same period of the previous year, which will be paid out next April 4th.