SSAB operating result for fourth quarter of 2023: Decrease compared to last year
by David Fleschen
SSAB's adjusted operating result for the fourth quarter of 2023 amounted to SEK 2,400 (3,768) million and the adjusted operating result for the full year was SEK 16.5 (29.3) billion. The decrease compared to last year's record high level was primarily due to a weaker market and lower steel prices, especially in Europe. SSAB continues to generate strong cash flow, with operating cash flow for the full year amounting to SEK 21.5 (22.7) billion. Against the background of this good financial position, we started to buy back shares during the fourth quarter and the Board proposes a dividend of SEK 5.00 (8.70) per share. During the year, SSAB further consolidated its leadership in the green transition in the steel industry and launched the unique steel, SSAB Zero.
SSAB Special Steels had an adjusted operating result of SEK 847 (1,369) million and an operating margin of 12% (16%) during the fourth quarter. "The performance and high quality of SSAB Special Steels' unique products provide added value for customers and this in turn creates conditions for more stable prices over the business cycle", the company stated.
SSAB Americas' adjusted operating result for the fourth quarter was SEK 1,681 (2,725) million and the operating margin was 25% (36%). SSAB Europe had an adjusted operating result of SEK 165 (-229) million and an operating margin of 2% (-2%). All steel divisions had costs for planned maintenance outages in the fourth quarter.
Due to the weak market, both Tibnor and Ruukki Construction has implemented cost saving programs, which include reduction of personnel. SSAB Europe adjusted production, cost and staffing and these measures will continue to a certain extent during the first quarter of 2024, as demand for products to the construction segment continues to be low. Also in SSAB Special Steels' markets, customers have adopted a more cautious approach, especially in Europe. The heavy plate market price in North America stabilized at the end of the fourth quarter.
There was increased interest in products with no carbon dioxide emissions during 2023 and we delivered more than 50,000 tonnes of SSAB Zero, a steel without Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Interest increased strongly not only in Europe, but also in the USA. We have started the construction of the electric arc furnace (EAF) in Oxelösund, a key item for fossil-free steelmaking. At the end of January 2024, the ruling on the granted concession for the power lines to Oxelösund gained legal force and the project continues according to plan.
Source and Photo: SSAB