Thailand’s SSI posts negative Ebitda of $49 million in Q1 2015

Core earnings at Thailand’s Sahaviriya Steel Industries slid further into the red during the March quarter on slumping steel prices due to import competition from China and Russia.

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The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) were negative 1.65 billion baht ($49 million), on a consolidated basis, in the three months to March 31, according to its latest financial report released late on Thursday May 14.

This was bigger than the negative Ebitda of 133 million baht ($4 million) it recorded in the previous quarter, and a reversal from the positive Ebitda of 75 million baht ($2.2 million) a year earlier.

Sales revenue on a consolidated basis during the March quarter sank 22% year-on-year to 11.02 billion baht ($329 million).

Sahaviriya Steel Industries is Thailand’s biggest steelmaker.

Group ceo and president Win Viriyaprapaikit said the market conditions in the first quarter had been “extremely challenging and the worst we have seen in recent years”.

“Subsidised steel export volumes from China remained high due to the country’s severe over-capacity problem and slowing economy, and the Russian rouble’s extraordinary depreciation gave Russian steel exporters a currency advantage. This is clearly an unfair trade situation, and we are working together with other domestic steelmakers and trade associations to petition to government for immediate action to level the playing field,” he said.

The company had to set aside another 378 million baht ($11.3 million) for stock-loss provision to reflect the current market situation, he said. This followed a similar provision of 1.05 billion baht ($31.3 million) made in the December quarter following a sharp decline in steel prices.

“The near-term market outlook is showing signs of a turn-a-round. After seven months of continuous price decreases in all markets globally, there are now positive signs in some markets,” Viriyaprapaikit said.

Recent price hikes for some products in US, Northern European and Turkish markets have been successful, he said. “Crude oil, iron ore and scrap are firmly trading higher providing backwinds to the market. We expect sales volumes to recover partially in the second quarter and spread to recover in the third quarter, when we expect to return to profitability.”