Russia's NLMK beats earnings forecast, says margins set to rise

1 November 2016

Russian largest steel producer NLMK expects its profitability to improve year-on-year in the final quarter of 2016, it said on Monday, reporting better than expected results in the third quarter.

Russian steelmakers have been supported by a recovery in global prices in the third quarter after a hit taken in 2015, when world steel prices slid to 10-year lows.

Record third-quarter sales and higher steel prices drove NLMK's earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) up 32 percent year-on-year to $673 million, beating an average of analysts' forecasts of $619 million.

NLMK's EBITDA margin rose 5 percentage points quarter-on-quarter to 30 percent, hitting its highest level since the second quarter of 2010, Chief Financial Officer Grigory Fedorishin said in a statement.

Its operations in the United States and Europe posted their highest EBITDA margin since 2008 of 18 percent.

Compared with the previous three months, NLMK's EBITDA rose 46 percent and performed better than its rivals. Severstal earlier reported an 11 percent growth in third-quarter EBITDA compared with the previous three months.

NLMK's net income for the period doubled quarter-on-quarter to $385 million. On an annualised basis it fell 6 percent due to the inclusion a year ago of a $186 million foreign exchange gain.

Shares in NLMK, which is controlled by billionaire Vladimir Lisin, were up 2 percent at 97.80 roubles by 1045 GMT, outperforming Moscow's broader MICEX index, which was flat.

NLMK along with other steelmakers who do not have in-house coal supplies is now facing higher coking coal prices, which have jumped since mid-2016.

The fourth quarter of 2016 should effectively be the first to start showing the impact of the rise in coal prices on NLMK's cost base, Sberbank CIB said in a recent note.


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