Vitkovice Steel, producer of rolled steel products, closed 2018 in the red, its loss at Kc1.68bn, against a profit of Kc191m the year before, the firm said in the annual report. 2018 was a difficult year but the firm took a number of measures aimed to streamline its processes, cut production costs and boost production efficiency, it said, adding that 2019 will see a profit.
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) reached Kc421m in 2017 while last year it was a loss of Kc341m. Sales increased to Kc9.4bn from 2017's Kc8.75bn.
Last year was marked by big changes on global markets that also hit the steel industry, said company board chairman Dmitrij Scuka.
However, Vitkovice Steel had a flexible approach to market turbulences, which is why it is still considered a reliable partner and a prosperous company, Scuka said.
Prices of semi-products were high last year but plate steel prices stayed flat, which cut the firm's profitability, said Scuka.
Sheet piles production was adversely affected by Chinese imports in particular, he added.
The EU was late with protectionist measures, but the measures were becoming visible at the end of 2018 and started reversing the negative trend, Scuka said.
Vitkovice Steel, the only producer of sheet piles in Czechia and one of the two producers of sheet piles in the EU, has over 900 employees.
Over 60 percent of its output was exported last year, and over 98 percent of the products went to EU markets. The firm is owned by a group of private investors behind companies based in Cyprus.