Ljubljana, Tuesday, 14 September 2022 – SIJ Group has successfully adapted to the unpredictable and volatile geopolitical and economic conditions of the first half of the year and has made good use of the high demand in the steel market. In the first half of 2022, it improved last year's performance.
Over the past years, we have systematically increased our production capacity through investments, creating the conditions for record steel and finished product production at a time of favourable market conditions and a high demand. At the same time, we have been successfully pursuing our strategic focus on the production of products with a high added value for the most demanding industries and, with the introduction of the energy surcharge, we have quite successfully absorbed the price shocks in the raw materials and energy markets in the first half of 2022. We produced record quantities of steel and finished products. In total, we produced 265 thousand tonnes of cast steel and an EBITDA of EUR 99.4 million, which is more than double the EBITDA of the first half of 2021.
The company’s unaudited financial data show that SIJ Group generated sales revenues of EUR 730.4 million (61.7% more compared to the first half of 2021), with 84.3 percent of that amount generated in foreign markets in the first half of 2021. With an EBITDA of EUR 99.4 million, the EBITDA margin was 13.6 percent, 3.9 percentage points higher than in the same period last year. We were agile and quick to adapt to the uncertainty in the global economy and the price increases of raw materials, energy and transport, which started in the second half of 2021 and intensified in the wake of the events in Ukraine, maintaining our profitability by adjusting our sales prices and introducing an energy surcharge. SIJ Group achieved a net profit of EUR 52.4 million at the end of the first half of 2022. We also improved our NFD/EBITDA ratio, which stands at 1.6.
Having established a market presence in over 70 countries worldwide, SIJ Group remains one of Slovenia’s top exporters with a of 84.3% share of sales in foreign markets. We have maintained a stable export share of well above 80% for the last decade. Germany, Italy, and other European countries continue to be our main export markets. We sold 0.6 percentage points more to Germany, our largest export market, than in the same period last year, 2.6 and 0.6 percentage points less to Italy and the USA respectively, and we increased exports to other European countries by 3.4 percentage points.
We experienced an increased demand for steel and steel products in key consuming industries such as energy, oil and gas, aerospace, automotive and engineering industries. While sales volumes increased, the sales mix by product group remained comparable to last year, with the highest volumes in high-quality steels, steel products and scrap steel. SIJ Group continues to rank among the top three producers of stainless steel quarto plates in the EU and among the top three producers of tool steels in the world. We are satisfied with orders and deliveries of the most demanding special stainless steel for the aerospace industry and have become an approved supplier for several customers. Our focus remains on finding and working with end customers, increasing sales activities in existing and new markets, and continuously improving supply chains to end customers.
The prices of most of SIJ Group's key raw materials rose sharply in the first half of the year and reached their peak before the summer. In recent months, although they have been decreasing, they are still at a high level. In the first half of the year, we also devoted a great deal of effort in ensuring an uninterrupted supply of key raw materials.
As electricity and natural gas account for the majority of SIJ Group's energy costs, we are naturally hit hard by disproportionately high energy prices compared to the preceding year. We currently have no alternative energy sources. In the first half of the year, we have therefore started to focus intensively on alternative energy sources such as LPG and LNG.
Given the extremely high energy prices and the uncertainty of our customers in accepting such price conditions, we decided in September to optimise our production volumes, which will be reduced by around a third in September, and we anticipate around a 40% reduction in production volumes in the fourth quarter. We believe that this is the correct decision to ensure SIJ Group's stable operations for the rest of the year.
In the first half of 2022, we reduced our specific energy consumption and carbon footprint compared to the same period last year, despite an increase in the share of stainless and heat-treated steels. We are on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 44% by 2030. We monitor market developments and look for new business opportunities for environmentally sustainable steel production. At the end of the first half of 2022, SIJ Group also adopted a sustainability strategy, which defines the sustainable operations and commitments of SIJ Group's sustainable development until 2030. The framework for our sustainable steel production will be the independent ResponsibleSteel certification standard, whose requirements we plan to meet by 2024.
Capital expenditure in the first half of 2022 amounted to EUR 24.6 million, EUR 4.5 million less than in the same period last year, when we also made some investments that had been postponed due to the first year of the pandemic. By maintaining a high capital ratio and securing long-term financing, SIJ Group will continue to maintain a stable structure of assets and resources to pursue our focus on the production of high-quality and technologically advanced steel products with the highest added value according to the principles of the circular economy.
SIJ Group is Slovenia’s largest vertically integrated metallurgy group which incorporates circular economy principles in its operations, allowing its products to maintain leading market positions in European and global niche steel markets. SIJ Group is among Slovenia’s top exporters and is considered a key employer in the Gorenjska and Koroška regions.
Find out more at:
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Katja Krumpak, Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +386 1 242 98 59
Mobile: +386 41 814 041