Stockholm-based steelmaker, SSAB, has announced plans to initiate a new buyback program worth up to 2.5 billion SEK ($224.7 million) following a sustained period of strong cash flow generation, despite experiencing weak demand in Europe during the third quarter. The company reported a net profit of 3.51 billion SEK, down from 5.08 billion SEK last year, as revenue declined by 6.9% to 29.34 billion SEK.
Earnings Disappoint Amid Challenging European Market
Analysts polled by FactSet had anticipated a net profit of 2.91 billion SEK on sales of 27.83 billion SEK as the impact of weak demand in Europe weighed on the company’s financial performance. SSAB noted that the seasonal slowdown experienced during the third quarter was more pronounced than usual, further exacerbating the situation.
Market Challenges and Varied Performances
Demand in Europe continues to remain subdued, with customers in SSAB Special Steels’ markets adopting a more cautious approach. However, the heavy plate market in North America demonstrated greater stability.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, SSAB expects European demand to remain muted while the heavy plate market in North America is predicted to continue performing well. Nevertheless, the company anticipates a continued weakness in the demand for high-strength steel, which was already evident in the third quarter.
Shipments and Pricing Outlook
For the fourth quarter, shipments in special steels are expected to remain stable compared to the previous quarter, with slightly lower prices. On the other hand, there is an anticipation of somewhat lower shipments in SSAB Europe, accompanied by significantly lower prices. SSAB Americas is also expected to witness somewhat lower shipments with lower prices.