Steel and vanadium producer Evraz Highveld, which reported a net loss of R31-million for the nine months to September, expects significant operational and quality improvements to flow on from its extensive maintenance and improvement projects, which were nearing completion.
The group indicated on Tuesday that, despite weak demand for flat products and a poor near-term outlook for international demand and prices, its 2012 performance should be an improvement on the current year. It said the demand for structural products was also relatively strong.
The loss for the nine-month period was an improvement on the net loss of R172-million recorded during the corresponding period during 2010. The JSE-listed group also recorded an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and ammortisation profit for the period of R41-million, compared with a R64-million loss last year.
The operating loss for the nine months was R140-million, compared with a loss of R313-million in 2010, owing to higher sales volumes and prices, which resulted in revenue increasing to R4.2-billion from R3.9-billion.
Domestic steel sales volumes decreased by 1% period-on-period, but export sales rose 22%, lifting overall steel sales by 4%. But export vanadium slag sales decreased by 11%, while domestic vanadium slag sales decreased by 74%.
Cast-steel output for the period decreased by 14% to 485 680 t, hot liquid metal output reduced by 18% for the period, while the production of flat products decreased by 20%. The maintenance programmes, as well as a contractor strike affected output.
The group also announced the appointment of Jan Valenta as its new FD, an appointment that became effective on October 31. Valenta joined from Evraz Vitkovice Steel, of the Czech Republic, where he had been deputy CFO and head of controlling.