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ATEC Steel announce transition to employee ownership

ATEC Steel announced the establishment of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Celebrating its 13th anniversary, ATEC initiated a transition to become 100% employee owned company. The ESOP will enable the company to continue its strong tradition of providing high quality talent for many years to come. Through the company’s new ESOP retirement plan, employees of ATEC will earn shares of stock in the business each year, becoming beneficial owners in the company. Employees who have completed 1,000 hours during the first 12 months of employment or during the calendar year, will become eligible to receive ESOP benefits. The transition to ESOP ownership will not change the management or day-to day operations of the business.

ATEC President Jeff Heck said that “We are very excited to be moving into the next chapter of our company’s history in a way that will take our successful business model to a new level. Sharing ownership with employees through our ESOP enhances our strategy of retaining top talent to serve our customers. We’re delighted that this transition will allow our capable management team to provide an additional benefit to our talented workforce.”

Mr Heck explained that “Our ESOP is a win-win for the employees, our company, and our customers. The ESOP will allow us to build high performance ownership culture and focus on the career development and stability of our employees. It provides a smooth transition of ownership while also providing individuals an opportunity to build their personal savings. In a market where there is a shortage of talent, more financial security means that our employees can spend more of their energy on offering our customers a superior level of service.”

An employee stock ownership plan is a retirement benefit that enables participating employees to earn shares of stock in a company where they work through a qualified retirement plan trust fund. First created in 1974, there are over 6,660 ESOP-owned businesses in the United States, employing over 14.4 million active employee-owners.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Karnataka iron ore mines stuck with 6.5 million tonnes of unsold inventory - Report

Business Standard reported that iron ore miners in Karnataka are stuck with 6.5 million tonnes of unsold inventory as against 1.5 mt a year ago. And one of the reasons is that the steel companies are buying ore from other states, while Karnataka mines are not allowed to export outside the state. Unsold ore amounts to more than 20 per cent of the total production of iron ore in the state in FY19. The miners are not able to sell the inventory in the state or domestic market since buyers prefer imported iron ore as they feel it is better on quality. This peculiar phenomenon not only has affected the miners, but also led to around INR 400 crore loss to the state.

The global iron ore market is facing a deficit this year due to the anticipated reduced supply from the world’s No. 1 iron ore miner Vale SA, whose operations in Brazil have been curtailed following a fatal tailings dam collapse in January. Adding to concerns about the shortfall, major iron ore producers in Australia have lowered their shipment estimates for this year, after a tropical cyclone in late March hit their operations.

According to Care Ratings, the global supply disruptions amount to about six per cent of the global iron ore seaborne market.

Miners, mainly from Chattisgarh and Odhisha, are able to utilise this opportunity, while their peers in Karnataka could not, since under the Supreme Court directions, all the iron ore produced by mines in Karnataka is sold through e-auctions to domestic steel companies on tonne-by-tonne basis. While, sellers are not allowed to export iron ore, buyers or the end-users have complete freedom to import iron ore from anywhere in the world or purchase from other states of India.

This peculiar phenomenon which is applicable only to the state of Karnataka, has resulted in iron ore sales failing to rise above 26.5 million tonnes against total FY19 production of 29.5 million tons in the state of Karnataka. The largest buyer of iron ore in Karnataka reduced its procurement of iron ore from 19 million tonne in 2017-18 to 13 million tonne in 2018-19. Miners said that “A whopping impact of INR 400 crore in lower revenues to the state in form of lower sales resulting in lower royalty payment by mines and INR 2,215 crore for miners from this reduction in local procurement.”

One of the largest miner in the state “Due to e-auction, there is a unique restriction on sellers. No material can be sold without e-auction whereas buyers can buy from anywhere. This has resulted in lot of imported material in addition to material from other states getting into Karnataka and has resulted in huge unsold inventory in the state. The unsold inventory has caused a loss of around INR 400 crore to the state exchequer.”

Mr Basant Poddar, former Chairman and member of FIMI South, added the iron ore sales in Karnataka have declined in 2018-19 due to high imports. This is a very strange situation where the local industry is not buying iron ore and exports are not permitted, which would otherwise fetch a higher price translating into higher revenues for the state and to the mining companies.

Source : Business Standard
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TATA Steel Thailand expects sales volume to gain 5 to 10%

Bangkok Post Tata Steel Thailand Pic the local unit of India's largest steel maker, expects its sales volume this fiscal year starting in April to rise by 5-10% to 1.20 to 1.25 million tonnes thanks to the expansion of its overseas markets. TSTH plans to increase its export volume and seek new markets as Thailand’s construction sector is quite bearish. Mr Rajiv Mangal, president and chief executive, said the company has not received new' purchase orders from local customers despite die construction plans of many government megaprojects expected to be implemented this year. He added that many companies and contractors are concerned about an unstable political situation following the general election on March 24, so they are waiting to see what happens before acting.

For the last fiscal year ending in March, TSTH posted sales of 1.15 million tonnes, down by 5.18% YoY, w'hich it attributed to bearish local demand. Export volume gained 20.4% for the period to 136,000 tonnes, making up 11.8% of total steel sales.

Mr Mangal said that "We secured exports to many countries such as Malaysia, India, Laos, Indonesia and Cambodia. We plan to export our steel products to Oceania in the near future." He said TSTH will propose to its board in May a budget of 400 million baht for this fiscal year, up from 200 million last year, to upgrade its wire rod products to high-carbon steel in addition to managing operating costs.

In 2019, TSTH projects Thai steel demand will increase by 5-6% to 18 million tonnes from 17.4 million in 2018, but Mr Mangal said it depends on positive movement in the Thai economy. He said that "Both the global and domestic economies have myriad negative factors, so steel consumption in Thailand is estimated to expand at a slower pace of 2-3% because some construction projects may be postponed.”

Separately, TSTH updated the progress of its sale of a 67.9% stake to a new venture in Singapore, with Tata Steel Global Holdings Pte Ltd, TSTH’s major shareholder, completing the transaction in May.

TSTH operates plants in Chon Buri, Rayong and Saraburi, specialising in rebar and wire rods with a total capacity of 1.7 million tonnes. The company plans to bolster its local retail distribution channel to expand its steel products and maintain overall sales amid uncertain demand.

Source : Bangkok Post
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EVRAZ Steel Segment Q1 result

In Q1 2019, pig iron output at EVRAZ’ Russian mills grew by 15.5% QoQ to 2.7 million tonnes following the completion of capital repairs at EVRAZ ZSMK’s blast furnace no. 3. Crude steel output climbed by 14.9% QoQ to 3.0 million tonnes following an increase in pig iron output. Iron ore products’ output rose by 8% QoQ to 3.6 million tonnes mainly due to improved performance of Evrazruda and increased demand for own-produced iron ore at EVRAZ ZSMK after the completion of capital repairs at blast furnace no. 3

Total production volumes (RUSSIA, UKRAINE, KAZAKHSTAN and EUROPE)

Zie pdf voor deel 1 cijfers

In Q1 2019, external sales of steel products rose by 11.2% QoQ, mostly due to higher crude steel production volumes. Sales of semi-finished products jumped by 27.5%, mostly due to the completion of capital repairs at EVRAZ ZSMK’s blast furnace no. 3, which affected sales in Q4 2018. Sales of finished products dropped by 1.2% QoQ, mainly driven by lower sales of construction products, which were down 5.4% QoQ due to a decrease of market demand in retail in Q1 2019 amid seasonal slowdown of construction works in Russia. Sales of vanadium products fell by 5.3% QoQ, mainly due to a sharp decline of demand from the auto- motive industry and high stock levels at steel makers, accumulated during a period of sharp FeV price increase.

Zie deel 2 pdf
In Q1 2019, total output of steel products dropped by 8.9% QoQ due to a reduction of 15.0% QoQ at EVRAZ Regina. The latter was caused by lower line pipe production volumes, which was due to lower US sales driven by US tariffs and duties, as well as lower LDP production due to increased changeover time as mills switched through multiple orders.

Total output of steel products at EVRAZ Pueblo fell by 11.0% QoQ as output of construction products declined amid lower demand for concrete reinforcing bar, which was driven by late start of construction season and reduced railway product output due to unplanned rail mill downtime in March 2019.

Sales of construction products decreased by 5.4% QoQ due to lower demand for concrete reinforcing bar, as inclement weather caused a slowdown of construction activity.

Railway product sales slid by 15.4% QoQ, driven by unplanned rail mill downtime in March 2019 at EVRAZ Pueblo, while market fundamentals remain strong.

Sales of flat-rolled products jumped by 4.8% QoQ as demand recovered in Q1 2019, after customers reduced inventory in Q4 2018. The sales growth was also impacted by a planned maintenance outage in Q4 2018 and a rail car shortage at the year-end that limited shipments.

Sales of tubular products dropped by 19.1% QoQ due to the temporary shutdown of the coating operation, which impacted line pipe shipments, as well as to lower sales of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) due to declining drilling activity in Western Canada.

Prices for tubular products were up during Q1 2019, reflecting higher prices for prevailing scrap and other inputs, as well as improved demand. Prices for construction products went down in Q1 2019 due to a seasonal reduction in market demand and surplus domestic capacity in the US. Prices for flat-rolled products were little changed compared with Q4 2018.

Zie deel 3 cijfers pdf

In Q2 2019, crude steel output is expected to drop by 2-5% QoQ amid a reduction in tubular volumes due to the seasonal decline on Canada’s OCTG market. Flat-rolled products are expected to climb by 5-7%, driven by customer production schedules. Construction products are expected to grow by 3-5% and railway products are expected to recover by 5-10% following the unplanned downtime in March
2019.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Quirk Cycles embrace 3D printed stainless steel tech at Bespoked

Road CC reported that bespoke framebuilding company Quirk Cycles will use this weekend’s Bespoked UK Handbuilt show to launch some new bike models and signature paint schemes, as well as showcasing a very special build utilising 3D printed stainless steel dropouts and seat lug. Winner of the Brooks Choice award at the Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show in 2016, Rob Quirk has an eye for detail and style and has created some standout bikes over the years, and bikes used in events as diverse as the Transcontinental Race and Red Hook Crit. With Bespoked taking place this weekend Quirk will be showcasing a very special new frame that will take centre stage on the company’s stand. All we know is that 3D printing technology has been used to create beautifully smooth dropouts and a seat cluster unlike any we’ve seen before.

The finish is said to be pretty special too, created by Cole Coatings Workshop and using a special silver leaf process. We can’t wait to get a closer look at the weekend.

Along with that new frame will be the launch of three new bike models, the Durmitor, Mamtor and Kegety. The Kegety is an all-new gravel/adventure bike based on Rob’s experience of riding the Silk Road Mountain Bike Race last summer.

The Durmitor is a disc-equipped road bike aimed at long distance rides with an emphasis on comfort, but highly capable if something like the Transcontinental Race takes your fancy, where this bike was actually developed.

The Mamtor is an “all-road gravel” bike loosely based on the Durmitor road bike but with wider tyre clearance, up to 40mm wide tyres will fit, for adding gravel tracks into your road rides, to provide the increased versatility that a lot of cyclists are looking for today.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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China keen on GFG Alliance steel expansion

SBS reported that Chinese recognition of the significance of Whyalla’s new steel plant is important for the strengthening of relations with the global superpower, British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta said that GFG Alliance is developing a new steel mill in the SA regional town with a view to double production. Last week the Chinese government named the development one of 16 projects of national significance to China. Mr Gupta said in a statement that “This recognition demonstrates the significance of this once-in-a-lifetime project not only for the future of manufacturing and industry in Australia, and the long-term outlook for Whyalla, but also for strengthening relations with China. The steel plant is destined to be the largest and most efficient built outside of China in the last few decades. It will have the ability and infrastructure to double capacity in time. It will also be accompanied by a major expansion in our mining business to feed this plant on a long-term competitive and sustainable basis.”

While in Beijing last week, Mr Gupta also signed a memorandum of understanding with the China International Capital Corporation to develop funding options for his group’s expansion plans.

He said the Whyalla development would not only transform the city but also ignite a new industrial revolution in Australia. He said that “Making steel at world-scale modern, efficient plants in Australia rather than just exporting raw materials around the world is a compelling industrial strategy.”

Source : SBS AU
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Steel tariffs work for Alabama - Mr Thomas J Gibson

The American steel industry directly and indirectly supports more than two million American jobs. The economic engine of iron and steel is responsible for more than 76,000 jobs in Alabama alone, paying a total of USD 4.7 billion in wages and salaries annually, while generating nearly USD 22 billion in industry output and USD 2 billion in federal, state and local taxes. However, dumped and subsidized steel imports have damaged the health of the industry, causing steel plants across the country to close and production of certain steel products to move offshore.

In response to the steel crisis that has been more than a decade in the making, and after an extensive nine-month investigation by the Department of Commerce, the president last year determined under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act that imports of steel products threatened to impair our national security. He imposed a 25%tariff on steel imports.

This necessary action has allowed the American steel industry to begin to recover. Capacity utilization at existing mills has increased in recent months to more than 80% levels not seen in the last 10 years. Steel shipments were 5% higher in 2018 than 2017. Steel imports have decreased 35% since the steel tariffs took effect in April 2018 through February 2019. The share of the steel market taken by imports has fallen from 29% last April to 20% in February.

The Section 232 trade remedy has also enabled investments in facilities like the recent announcement by United States Steel Corporation to restart construction on an electric arc furnace steelmaking facility at its tubular operations in Fairfield, creating 150 jobs, and the planned USD 100 million investment by SSAB Americas in Mobile to increase production capacity for high-strength, value-added steels creating 50 new jobs.

While conditions in the American steel industry have improved recently due to the administration’s trade actions and tax and regulatory reform policies, there is still more work to be done.

There are nearly 500 million net tons of excess steel capacity in the world today. China’s record steel production exceeded one billion net tons in 2018 more than 10 times all of the American steel production. This, along with China’s high level of steel exports, continues to destabilize the global industry and threaten American steelmakers. If the Section 232 tariffs were prematurely removed, this excess production could easily flood into the United States, injuring the steel industry once again.

It is clear that the Section 232 trade remedy is critical to ensuring the steel industry remains a vital asset for our national and economic security, and at the forefront in developing the most advanced steel products. The American steel industry built this country. We want to keep American steel strong.

Source : STRATEGIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE
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Kenyan steelmakers want zero rated fees to grow sector

The Star reported that Kenya iron and steel sector is under performing due to high taxation imposed over the manufacturing of the product, manufacturers have said. Speaking during the first ever steel forum, Kenya Association of Manufacturers steel sector chair Mr Bobby Johnson said this has caused the country to spend more on importing the product. Mr Johnson highlighted that though the sector continues to grow, its full potential still remains unexploited, due to high energy cost, Import Development Fees, Railway Development Levy, and illicit trade. The manufacturers now want the government to zero rate the Import Development Fees and Railway Development Levy for all industry inputs to improve the competitiveness of the sector.

In addition to zero rating, the steelmakers want clear procedures for smooth implementation of Buy Kenya, Build Kenya and local content especially for large scale infrastructure projects with a high demand for steel.

According to KAM chair Mr Sachen Gudka, the sector has the capacity to export between KES 30 billion to KES 40 billion. He noted that the establishment of stronger partnerships with global investors, would be vital to attain the desired growth in the sector and the economy. He said that “We are at the juncture where our trade deficit continues to widen as a country, and the numbers in Steel are a clear demonstration of that. If we can forge stronger partnerships…we can turn this around in a short amount of time.”

The industry forms about 13% of the manufacturing sector. Data from the Ministry of Industrialisation shows that the government spends over KES 60 billion on the importation of steel annually.

This is despite the country having a local deposit of iron and coal which are the raw materials for the production of the metals.

Further details from the ministry show that a single steel plant of a capacity to produce 350,000 tonnes of steel per year can generate over 10,000 jobs.

Source : The Star
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Hyundai Steel Q1 net profit down by 36%

Yonhap reported that Hyundai Steel Co first quarter net profit sank 36% YoY due to increased costs of raw materials. Net profit reached 114 billion won (USD 97.9 million) in the January-March period, compared with a profit of 176 billion won a year earlier.

The company said in a regulatory filing that its operating income also moved down 27.6% to 212 billion won over the cited period, while sales soared 6% to 5.07 trillion won. The company said the decline in its bottom line came as prices of raw materials increased.

Hyundai Steel expects demand for auto steel sheets and steel rods to rise down the road, helping it see improved earnings.

Source : Yonhap
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46% steel bars in test buy were substandard - Philippine watchdog

ABS-CBN News reported that forty percent of steel bars in a test buy last year were found to be substandard, Philippine Iron and Steel Institute president Roberto Cola said that out of the total 115 steel bars purchased across the country for the test, 46 turned out to be substandard. He said that majority of the low quality materials were produced by local manufacturers who use induction furnaces that are not capable of removing impurities from raw steel.

He added that Department of Trade and Industry is verifying the information.

Source : ABS-CBN
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Fives Eyeron receives award at Industry of the Future Forum

Fives' real-time steel quality control solution, Eyeron1, was commended at the first French-Russian “Industry of the Future” forum on April 11, 2019. The forum, which was held in Moscow, was jointly organized by French Alliance “Industrie du Futur”, the technological centre of the French-Russian Chamber of Commerce “Nauka Innov”, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Russian Ministry of Industry, the Embassy of France to Russia, with support from MEDEF International and Fives. Fives was represented by a strong delegation, headed by Mr Frederic Sanchez, Fives’ Chairman and CEO, who is also Chairman of MEDEF International.

During the one-day event, representatives of businesses and ministries, academics and technical experts shared their vision of the industry of the future, as well as technological and industrial cooperation. A major focus was placed on the potential of the digital economy, technologies, additive technologies, automation, robotics, big data and loT.

The system Eyeron™ was successfully implemented in the steel shop, the hot rolling mill 2000 and the plate rolling shop N2 of Severstal, a leading Russian steelmaker, in 2018. It enables the shops to automatically manage more than 20,000 rules to make a decision on product quality.

Mr Alexander Shevelyov CEO of Severstal said that "This is the first intellectual system to automatically certify product quality in the metallurgical industry of the Russian Federation, and it’s the first system in the world which not only makes the decision on certification, but also offers possibilities to rework slabs and rolled products, considering the quality required by our clients. The system has a very high potential, and we plan to introduce it into other production shops of the plant.”

Mr Peter Mishnev, Technical Development and Quality Director of Severstal Russian Steel Division, added that “Following the results of last year, the system allowed us to significantly reduce non-conforming products. The quantity of slabs requiring scarfing was also decreased. The financial benefit totaled EUR 1.7 million."

Frederic Sanchez during the ceremony said that “It is in Fives’ DNA to develop innovative solutions for and together with its clients. Eyeron™, a breakthrough digital application for steel quality management, was implemented at the Cherepovets plant thanks to the forward-thinking and spirit of partnership between the teams of Severstal and Fives.”

Recognizing these significant achievements, the award was presented by Oleg Bocharov. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation in the presence of Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to Russia.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Construction started on new voestalpine special steel plant in Kapfenberg

One year after the groundbreaking ceremony for the world’s most advanced special steel plant, construction work for the EUR 350 million project in Kapfenberg, Styria, is on schedule. After completion of the construction site and associated infrastructure, Group company voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl has now awarded the contract for construction of the hall of the steel plant: Austrian companies Unger Stahlbau Ges mbH, based in Oberwart, Burgenland, and Haslinger Stahlbau GmbH, headquartered in Feldkirchen, Carinthia, will form a consortium to erect the steel construction, which will cover an area of three hectares. The industrial equipment permit for the new plant was issued in March 2019.

Over the past twelve months, at the voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl works premises the preconditions necessary prior to the start of the actual construction phase at the new special steel plant have been met: the 50,000 m² construction site has been completely levelled and secured with a 700 meter-long retaining wall. The access roads, assembly area, and infrastructure needed by the subcontractors are also operational.

Preparation is forging ahead at full speed: Around a month ago, construction work began on the foundations for the hall, which is scheduled for completion by February 2020. 150 people are currently at work at the construction site, with another 100 active in project planning.

With its new special steel plant, which will supply around 205,000 tons of special steel annually to the international aerospace, oil and gas, and tool construction industries from 2021, voestalpine is setting completely new standards globally in digitalized and automated procedures. The technological heart of the plant is an electric arc furnace powered using 100% green electricity, which will melt down ultra-pure scrap and alloys to produce sophisticated steel grades. As previously announced, German plant construction company SMS group is supplying the furnace. Construction of the special steel plant secures more than 3,500 long-term jobs at voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl and its sister processing companies voestalpine Böhler Aerospace (also in Kapfenberg), and voestalpine Böhler Bleche (Mürzzuschlag).

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Salzgitter Group reports Q1 profit

Dgap reported that according to the still preliminary figures now available, the Salzgitter Group generated profit before taxes of EUR 125.9 million (Q1 2018: EUR 95.9 million) in the first quarter of 2019, thereby notably exceeding current market expectations. Along with the very satisfactory pre-tax profit of the Strip Steel Business Unit, all other business units strengthened this performance by delivering positive results, as did the investment in Aurubis AG, a company included at equity. The EUR50.2 million contribution of the Aurubis investment (Q1 2018: EUR 7.5 million) includes EUR 18.3 million in reporting-date related valuation effects (Q1 2018: EUR-6.3 million) emanating mainly from positive precious metal price developments, the continuation of which we cannot assume in light of their volatility. In addition, EUR 20.0 million (Q1 2018: EUR 0) in income from an accounting adjustment through profit and loss in connection with shares acquired in Aurubis AG in the first quarter of 2019 at average price below the market value of the pro rata equity capital were recorded herein. The external sales of the Salzgitter Group came in at EUR 2.3 billion, thus remaining stable compared with the first quarter of 2018 (EUR 2.3 billion).

Following the strong first quarter, we affirm our earnings forecast for profit before taxes of between EUR 125 million and EUR 175 million. With reference to the unstable economic situation, not only in the EU, and the associated impaired forecasting reliability for the upcoming three quarters of the financial year, we consider revising the forecast to be premature at present. At the same time, we are currently anticipating a result more in the upper end of the range.

The reference to the fact that imponderables, including changes in the cost of raw materials, precious metal prices and exchange rates, along with global trade policy measures, may still have a considerable impact over the course of the financial year 2019. The dimensions of this range become clear if one considers that, with around 9 million tonnes per annum of steel products to be sold by the Strip Steel, Plate / Section Steel, Mannesmann and Trading business units through to the end of the year, an average EUR 10 change in the margin per ton is sufficient to cause a variation in the annual result of EUR90 million.

Source : Dgap
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Olympic Steel announced promotion of Mr Andrew J Tobias to GM of Berlin Metals

Olympic Steel Inc announced the promotion of Andrew Mr J Tobias to General Manager, Berlin Metals. Mr Tobias began his career with Olympic Steel in 2013 as an Outside Sales Representative for Integrity Stainless. In 2015, he was promoted to Stainless Steel Product Manager - Specialty Metals, where he has been a key contributor in the sales growth of the Company's stainless steel and aluminum products. Before joining Olympic Steel, Tobias held senior positions in sales, purchasing and general management with several other companies. In this position, Mr Tobias will be responsible for driving profitable growth for Berlin Metals, and he will report directly to Andrew Wolfort, Regional Vice President and General Manager. Berlin Metals is an Olympic Steel company that specializes in the finest Tin Mill Products, Stainless Steel Strip, Cold Rolled Steel and Galvanized Steel.

Mr Tobias earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Western Illinois University. He is a graduate of the Metals Service Center Institute's Strategic Metals Management Program at Washington University and is an active member of the Metals Service Center Institute.

Mr Andy Markowitz President Specialty Metals said that "Andrew's management and sales accomplishments at Olympic Steel prepare him well to undertake this new position to manage and profitably grow our Berlin Metals specialty metals business. He is a motivating leader with years of experience in sales, purchasing and operations, which makes him a natural fit for his new role within our Company."

Source : STRATEGIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE
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AK Steel announces Q1 2019 financial results

AK Steel reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2019.

First Quarter 2019 Highlights

1. Sales of USD 1,697.7 million, a 2% increase from first quarter 2018

2. Net loss of USD 4.5 million, or USD 0.01 per diluted share, including the Ashland Works closure charge of USD 77.4 million

3. Adjusted net income of USD 72.9 million, or USD 0.23 per diluted share

4. Adjusted EBITDA of USD 160.9 million, or 9.5% of sales; up 36% from a year ago

Mr Roger K Newport Chief Executive Officer said that “Our solid first quarter operating performance benefitted from our annual customer contract renewals. A higher proportion of contractual sales helps to reduce the volatility in our business and this was reflected in our first quarter results. We also continued to strengthen our position with automotive manufacturers by commercializing new steel solutions, including through our downstream tubing and stamping operations.”

AK Steel reported a net loss of USD 4.5 million, or USD 0.01 per diluted share of common stock, for the first quarter of 2019, which included a USD 77.4 million charge for the Ashland Works closure discussed below. Excluding this item, adjusted net income was USD 72.9 million, or USD 0.23 per diluted share, for the period. For the first quarter of 2018, net income was USD 28.7 million, or USD 0.09 per diluted share.

The company’s adjusted EBITDA was USD 160.9 million, or 9.5% of net sales, for the first quarter of 2019. Adjusted EBITDA increased 36% from USD 118.7 million, or 7.2% of net sales, in the first quarter a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA in the recent first quarter included mark-to-market gains of USD 21.8 million from iron ore derivatives. For the same period in 2018, the company recorded a mark-to-market loss of USD 7.7 million. Also included in adjusted EBITDA for the recent first quarter was an USD 11.6 million gain from the sale of electrical transmission assets at the company’s Dearborn Works. The sale of the assets will transfer the maintenance requirements of those assets to the buyer.

Net sales for the recent first quarter were USD 1.7 billion, a 2% increase, compared to the first quarter of 2018. The increase was due to higher selling prices for most products and increased shipments to the distributors and converters market, partly offset by lower shipments to the automotive market, as expected.

The company reported liquidity of USD 937.5 million at the end of the first quarter, consisting of cash and cash equivalents and USD 896.8 million of availability under the company’s revolving credit facility. The company reported outstanding borrowings under the credit facility of USD 380.0 million at March 31, 2019.

Ashland Works Closure
In January 2019, the company announced its intention to close its Ashland Works facility. The Ashland Works facility includes a blast furnace and steelmaking operations which were idled in December 2015, and a hot dip galvanizing coating line, which has remained operational. The company is transitioning its products to its other US coating lines, and will close the Ashland Works line before the end of 2019. The company recorded a charge of USD 77.4 million during the first quarter of 2019 for termination of certain take-or-pay supply agreements, supplemental unemployment and other employee benefit costs, pension and OPEB termination benefits (including USD 13.3 million recorded in pension and OPEB (income) expense), estimated multi employer plan withdrawal liability, and other costs.

Outlook
Based on the change in hot-rolled carbon spot market pricing from approximately USD 720 per ton in January to about USD 690 per ton currently, the company is updating its annual guidance. The company’s annual guidance had indicated that for every USD 10 change in the carbon hot-rolled coil spot market price, annual earnings would be impacted by USD 5 to USD 7 million. Accordingly, the company now expects net income to be in the range of USD 76 to USD 96 million, or USD 0.24 to USD 0.30 per diluted share. Excluding the impact of the Ashland Works closure, adjusted net income is expected to be in the range of USD 153 to USD 173 million, or USD 0.48 to USD 0.54 per diluted share, and adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of USD 505 to USD 525 million. This updated guidance aligns with the company’s previous guidance.

Other outlook items include:
The company’s adjusted net income and adjusted EBITDA guidance exclude the effects of the Ashland Works charge of USD 77.4 million recorded in the first quarter of 2019, as discussed above.

Planned maintenance outage expenditures in 2019 are still expected to be USD 70 to USD 80 million and substantially heavier in the second and fourth quarters. As a result, the company expects to have a similar level of adjusted EBITDA between the first half and the second half of the year.

The company expects working capital to be a small source of cash for the year. In January, the company had indicated that working capital would be a small use of cash.

The other annual guidance items remain unchanged from the company’s January guidance.

The foregoing outlook is based on AK Steel’s current estimates and may change based on business conditions and other factors. There are many other items that could affect the company’s 2019 results, as outlined in the Forward-Looking Statements below, including developments in the domestic and global economies, in the company’s business, in trade actions and the imposition of tariffs, and in the businesses of the company’s customers, suppliers and competitors.

Source : STRATEGIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE
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Malaysia starts AD investigation against Steel rebars from Singapore and Turkey

Scrap Register reported that Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry has received a petition from the Malaysia Steel Association asking for an anti-dumping investigation on imports of steel reinforcing bar (rebar). The Minister said in a statement that “The petitioner alleged that imports of rebar originating in, or exported from Singapore and Turkey, are being dumped into Malaysia at a price much lower than their domestic price.”

According to the petition, these are hot rolled steel bars containing indentations, ribs, grooves or other deformation.

MITI said the government has considered the prima facie evidence of dumping, injury and causal link and decided to initiate the anti-dumping investigation.

A preliminary determination will be made within 120 days from the date of initiation, in accordance with the Countervailing and Anti-Dumping Duties Act 1993 and its related regulations, the ministry said.

If the preliminary determination is affirmative, the government will impose a provisional anti-dumping duty at the rate that is necessary to prevent further injury, it added.

Source : Scrap Register
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Despite challenges, steel industry fares well in FY 19 - Mr Sushim Banerjee

Mr Sushim Banerjee DG INSDAG in his personal capacity wrote in Financial Express that we are happy to note that despite critical challenges faced by the Indian industry in FY19 in terms of demand, raw material prices and availability, price realisation, rise in imports and dwindling exports and lastly, the period in the aftermath of general election announcements that curbed fresh government policy measures, the steel industry has achieved notable performance indicators. The crude steel production at 107 million tonne rose by 3.3%. Total steel imports at 8.8 million tonne went up by 5% and steel exports at 8.5 million tonne dropped down by 26%, resulting in India becoming a net importer in FY19. One satisfying way of looking at this import growth is to perceive indigenous market absorption exceeding the domestic availability to need imports to fill up the gap. A look at the import data would surmise that a good component of flat imports (HRC, CRC, coated products, plates) as well as wire rods, TMT were well within the capability of the indigenous producers, but got imported on account of price-related factors or imported through trade channels to be marketed to domestic buyers at a premium.

Some part of these imports, namely seconds and defective grades electro galvanised steel, tin plate waste, tin free steel, pipes and bars and rods totalling approximately 0.4 million tonne valued at INR 1,473 crore have largely come via trade channel. The only difference is that these products would disband their seconds tag when sold in the market, charge lower than the corresponding prime variety even after charging a good premium over the imported price and so are capable to depress the ruling market price. The most vicious is the adverse impact on the quality of the end products made out of these.

It may so happen that some of these end products are also exported from India to other destinations till such time unsuspecting buyers are duly informed with the prospect of losing export orders permanently.

Indian exports are primarily destined to Nepal, Italy, Vietnam, the UAE, Belgium, Indonesia, Malaysia, Spain and Sri Lanka, and they comprise around 69.5% of the total steel exports. Plates, HRC, CRC, galvanised and coated products, pipes, bars and rods, structural and semis form the primary basket of total steel exports.

Trade restrictions imposed by the US following the duty hike of 25% on all steel imports to the US under Section 232 of US Trade Act and a definitive safeguard duty imposed by the EU on all imports and converting these duties to quota based trade (around 70% of the average exports undertaken by a country in the last three years) have turned these major two high consumption points out of reach of Indian exporters. This has prompted them to look for neighbouring countries, south-east Asia, the UAE and Vietnam to accept Indian steel.

It is seen that while the BF/BOF route has taken a share of 47% in total crude steel production in the country, EAF process has taken 26% share and IF route the balance 27% share. The finished steel consumption in FY19 at 97.5 MT has grown by a healthy rate of 7.5% with rising demand from the construction and infrastructure sectors, automobile, engineering goods and consumer durables.

Under such a scenario, it is natural to have an outlook for steel in the current year. The ruling price of chinese export of SS 400 grade HRC stands at USD 530 per tonne fob Tianjin. The corresponding domestic price in the US stands at USD 730 per tonne ex works and in north Europe at USD 548 per tonne ex works.

It is assessed that as China alone remains the driver of the road map that global steel industry is likely to follow, the fluctuations in the Chinese domestic market would determine the course of other markets. The current remunerative price regime is to last till H1 of Fy20. During this period, there is a distinct possibility of a rise in iron ore price from the current level of USD 92 per tonne CFR China on account of a drop in production from vale and also a rise in pellet price due to a similar reason.

The stimulus measures (4 trillion RMB) in China has led to rising FAI in boosting steel consumption (92% of consumption accounted for by FAI in China). It is unlikely that China would suddenly switch from the FAI-led economy to consumption led economy in H2 of the current year, although it is believed to be so by some analysts which include WSD.

The reduction of VAT from 16% to 13% and 9% VAT credit on export of HRC with Boron may provide a boost to HRC exports from 78 wide strip mills in China. A large part of the global steel market would, however, depend on what shape the US-China trade war takes.

Apart from a general 25% duty on steel, the US has imposed 10% duty on USD 200 billion Chinese manufacturing exports to the US and the duty would rise to 25% in the event of no trade pact with China.

Source : Financial Express
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Ghana to establish steel factory

Journaldu Cameroun reported that government of Ghana is to establish USD 80 million steel factory at Dawhenya in collaboration with B5 Plus under its falgship program, 1 District, 1 Factory. The factory to be hosted at Dawhenya in the Ningo Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region, when operational, is expected to save the country an average amount of USD 100 million used to import iron and steel. The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Mike Thakwani, made this known during a facility tour by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Tema.

The Daily Graphic reports that the CEO revealed that the first phase of the project had been completed and that it would become operational in May.

Ghana’s construction industry relies heavily on steel and iron sheets for various development projects, therefore the citing of an iron and steel factory will go a long way to ease the burden on the country in terms of imports of such products.

Source : Journaldu Cameroun
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Voestalpine steps up to cut cost as business climate worsens

Reuters reported that Austrian steel producer Voestalpine is preparing for a weaker economic environment during its 2019/2020 fiscal year, its chief executive said, adding the company was implementing further program to cut costs and increase efficiency. Voestalpine CEO Wolfgang Eder at an event in Duesseldorf said that “It’s no secret that we’re preparing for a much worse economy, citing fears of a slowdown in the global automotive industry, uncertainties regarding new emissions tests and demand in China plus trade tensions with the United States.”

Mr Eder said that Voestalpine likely achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of 1.55 billion euros (USD 1.73 billion) and earnings before interest and taxes of 750 million euros during the 2018/2019 business year which ended in March in line with previously revised targets.

Source : Reuters
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Rio Tinto chooses FLSmidth for major new Koodaideri iron ore mining project in WA

Rio Tinto has chosen FLSmidth to supply key minerals handling equipment for the company's Koodaideri mine in Western Australia. The contract is a turn-key contract for the design, supply, installation and commissioning for Rio Tinto's new greenfield iron ore mine, Koodaideri. FLSmidth will provide the products and know-how that will be instrumental in developing the Koodaideri mine to be Rio Tinto's most technologically advanced mine to date. Rio Tinto will for the first time apply smart technology to interconnect all components in the mining value chain. FLSmidth will design the equipment to the latest Australian standards and incorporate smart 3D design and a variety of advanced engineering solutions, such as BulkExpert.

Construction at the Koodaideri mine will commence this year with the first ore expected to be fully functional by late 2021 with a production capacity of 43 Mt of iron ore per year.

The exact total contract value for the supply of the equipment won't be disclosed but is exceeding AUD 80 million (approximately USD 56 million) and will be booked in Q2 2019.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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