Dongkuk records 30% plunge in plate sales in 2013

Dongkuk Steel, South Korea’s third-largest steelmaker, reported a 30.2% fall in plate sales last year on the back of increased domestic competition and continuing weak demand for the product.

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It sold a total of 1.84 million tonnes in the whole of 2013, down from 2.64 million tonnes in 2012, Dongkuk said in its annual results report posted early this week on its website.

The figure compares with the steelmaker’s installed plate capacity of 3.4 million tpy and with sales of 3.32 million tonnes in 2011, according to the report.

Consumption of plate, which Dongkuk considers its “anchor product”, has been affected by lower demand from the shipbuilding and construction industries and competition from Posco and Hyundai Steel – South Korea’s largest and second-largest steelmakers, respectively.

However, it recorded a 9.4% increase in long steel shipments. They totalled 3.46 million tonnes last year, up from 3.16 million tonnes in 2012.

Crude steel output was virtually unchanged year-on-year, at 3.33 million tonnes in 2013 compared with 3.31 million tonnes in the preceding year.

Production of plate and long steel tracked its sales closely, with plate output falling to 1.85 million tonnes last year from 2.62 million tonnes in the preceding year, and that of long steel increasing to 3.54 million tonnes from 3.20 million tonnes.

As previously disclosed, Dongkuk swung to an operating profit of 81.1 billion Won ($76.6 million) in 2013 as a result of cost reduction and its focus on the sale of high-quality steel plate.

Apart from 3.4 million tpy of plates, Dongkuk can produce as much as 2.5 million tpy of rebar and 1.2 million tpy of section.