Thyssenkrupp Profit Falls as Chinese Steel Pressures Prices

Thyssenkrupp Beats Estimates, Still in Talks With Tata
  • Still exceeds earnings estimates, repeats fiscal-year forecast
  • Company seeing ‘signs of recovery’ in its materials units

Thyssenkrupp AG, Germany’s largest steelmaker, reported fiscal third-quarter profit fell 18 percent as record steel exports from China continued to put pressure on prices.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes dropped to 441 million euros ($493 million) in the three months through June from 539 million a year earlier, the Essen-based company said in a statement on Thursday. That beat the 419 million euro average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Thyssenkrupp reiterated its fiscal-year profit forecast of at least 1.4 billion euros.

Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger has been moving to change Thyssenkrupp, known for its focus on steelmaking, into an industrial group specializing in everything from elevators to auto parts and submarine building. It may take as long as three years for the company to reach its profit goals because the steel industry is stuck in a “nightmare” of low prices and cheap Chinese exports, the CEO said in June.

‘Clear Signs’

But in the fiscal third quarter, there were “clear signs of recovery,” the company said in Thursday’s statement.

“We are now seeing initial improvements in material prices,” Hiesinger said. “This will have a favorable impact on our future earnings.”

Net income in the fiscal third quarter fell about 35 percent from a year earlier to 130 million euros. Sales declined 12 percent to 9.87 billion euros, trailing the 10.4 billion-euro average estimate, the company said.

Shares Fall

The stock declined for a second day, dropping 2 percent to 20.685 euros by 9:16 a.m. in Frankfurt.

Free cash flow before mergers and acquisitions was unchanged at 205 million euros.

Adjusted EBIT at the company’s European steel business slipped 45 percent to 91 million euros in the quarter. Steel Americas turned to a quarterly profit of 39 million euros from a loss of 25 million.

“The results in total are good -- above all, the steel business’s profit and outlook, especially in Brazil,” Ingo Schachel, an analyst at Commerzbank AG, said by phone from Frankfurt.

There are some signs that the steel market is improving. Even though China is still exporting record amounts of the alloy, benchmark steel in Europe has recovered since February when the price touched the lowest in at least nine years. ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel producer, reported last month the highest quarterly profit since 2014 and said it expects better market conditions later in the year.

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