Austrian refractory speciailist RHI posted a 33 per cent rise in first-quarter operating earnings as it sold more products to the booming global steel industry.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose to 42.1 million euros ($57.4
million) in the quarter to March, RHI said on Thursday. Sales expanded 10 percent to 361 million euros, helped by a 14 percent increase in sales of its Steel unit.
RHI said the consolidation of its client industries -- mainly makers of steel, cement and glass -- would strengthen RHI’s position as globally operating customers preferred to deal with suppliers able to deliver in all their locations.
RHI nearly collapsed in 2001 when asbestos damage claims pushed it into massive debt, which it has been paying down ever since. It said it expected final approval of its US insolvency procedure during the second quarter.
RHI shares, mainly owned by Austrian investor Martin Schlaff, are almost unchanged since the start of the year, underperforming Austria’s ATX index.
It is valued at 13 times next year’s estimated earnings, less than the average for European materials makers.