Amag Austria Metall AG continued successfully on its growth path in the 2018 business year.
Supported by rising demand for aluminium products combined with good progress in the ramp-up of the new plants in Ranshofen, Austria, the Amag Group’s total shipments rose to a record of 424,600 tonnes (2017: 421,700 t).
Helmut Wieser, who retired as Amag’s CEO on 1 March, said: “We implemented our two site expansion projects within budget and on schedule, and we are also making good progress in the demanding ramp-up of our new facilities. In 2018, we achieved important qualifications in the packaging, aircraft and automotive industries. This created the basis for further growth in the coming years.”
Higher shipment volumes and the higher average aluminium price contributed to a new record revenue level, which was up by around 6% to EUR 1.1 billion euros.
The market environment and consequently also the group earnings were significantly affected by external market factors in the 2018 business year. The introduction of additional US import tariffs on aluminium had a negative impact on earnings in the mid-single-digit range in millions of euros for shipments from Austria to the USA. The production cut ordered by the authorities at the world’s largest alumina refinery in Brazil as well as US sanctions on one of the largest alumina producers led to high price fluctuations for alumina and aluminium. In particular, the price of alumina rose significantly compared with the previous year.
“We will consistently pursue our growth strategy”
Attractive global demand growth can be expected in 2019 and in the next five years for both primary aluminium products and aluminium rolled products, according to the latest estimates of the CRU market research institute. For 2019, CRU expects global demand for primary aluminium to grow by 3%. Global demand for aluminium rolled products is expected to increase by 4%. The largest percentage growth is forecast in the transport sector with a rise of 7%.
Promising market growth, the solid balance sheet and the growth investments that have been realized form a good starting position for the coming years. Gerald Mayer, former head of Finance and, since 1 March 2019, Amag’s new chief executive, said: “We will consistently pursue our growth strategy. In the 2019 financial year, Amag will continue to benefit from further volume growth as part of the ramp-up. This brings us a further significant step closer to our shipment target of more than 300,000 tonnes of aluminium rolled products.”
Experience shows that the raw material markets can be subject to high price fluctuations which can significantly affect Amag Group earnings. For this reason, it was still too early to issue an earnings forecast for the 2019 financial year, said Amag, especially as economic uncertainties, such as those related to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and weak car sales, have risen further.