By Dominic Chopping
STOCKHOLM — Swedish steelmaker SSAB AB said Tuesday that it swung to a fourth-quarter net loss as a weaker market saw stock adjustments in Europe, while strikes in Finland and lower prices in its Americas operation all weighed on the result.
The company /zigman2/quotes/202382434/delayed SE:SSAB.A +0.03% posted a net loss of 1.24 billion Swedish kronor ($129.4 million) from a profit of SEK695 million a year earlier on sales of SEK16.97 billion, down from SEK19.25 billion a year earlier.
Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a net loss of SEK458 million on sales of SEK16.8 billion.
“Stock adjustments by customers on the European market are assessed to be over and our order intake improved towards the end of the quarter,” said Chief Executive Martin Lindqvist.
“This is expected to lead to increased shipments during the first quarter of 2020.”
In North America, demand for heavy plate is expected to be stable during the first quarter of 2020. In Europe, underlying demand is expected to increase, while global demand for high-strength steels is expected to increase.
Shipments by SSAB Americas are expected to increase compared with the fourth quarter while volumes in SSAB Europe and SSAB Special Steels are also expected to increase from the fourth quarter.
Realized prices are seen unchanged in SSAB Americas, and somewhat lower in SSAB Europe and SSAB Special Steels during the first quarter.
The company maintained its full-year dividend at SEK1.50.