The stainless steel recycler ELG returned to the black in 2017 thanks to a better market environment and higher tonnages. After reporting pre-tax losses of €23m and €7m in the two previous years, the subsidiary of the German conglomerate Franz Haniel & Cie. posted a pre-tax income of €30m last year. The recycling group, which operates 50 sites in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, benefited from a considerable easing in the market environment. It was also able to increase its output tonnage in both its stainless steel scrap and super alloys businesses.
Thanks to higher commodity prices and the resulting improvement in scrap availability, revenues rose by 22 per cent to €1.7bn. With a stable gross profit margin and the cost basis increasing at a slower pace, the operating result improved by €31m to €49m, significantly beating expectations. The average number of employees rose from 1,181 to 1,240.
The overall improvement in the market environment had a positive impact on business development at ELG, according to the Haniel group’s annual report. Global stainless steel production in 2017 was 6 per cent higher than in the previous year. This was mainly due to a 6 per cent increase in production in China, the world's largest stainless steel market. Stainless steel production in the USA and Europe – markets particularly relevant for ELG – also grew thanks to the improved market environment.