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NLMK's Q3'19 steel sales fall 9% YOY as repairs weigh on output

Top Russian steelmaker PJSC Novolipetsk Steel's third-quarter sales fell 9% year over year to 4.02 million tonnes as output registered a second consecutive quarterly decline due to ongoing blast furnace repairs at its Lipetsk operations, according to an Oct. 15 trading update.

Third-quarter crude steel output dropped 16% year over year to 3.73 Mt, following a 9% yearly fall in second-quarter output, as large scale overhauls continued amid low demand for billets in export markets.

An overhaul of Blast Furnace 6 took place in the second and third quarters and is due for completion early in the fourth quarter, a company representative confirmed to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The upgrade is slated to increase the facility's annual capacity by 8% to 3.4 Mt of pig iron and reduce its environmental impact.

Work on Blast Furnace 4 is also scheduled for the second and third quarters of 2020. Its capacity was 1.8 million tonnes per annum, according to a July 2017 company news release.

Lower demand from NLMK's European companies saw sales of semifinished products lead the overall sales decline, falling 15% year over year to 1.29 Mt. Finished steel sales declined 6% to 2.73 Mt, from 2.91 Mt a year before.

The proportion of sales to the steel group's home markets, including North America and the EU, rose to 70%, while sales to external markets decreased to 30%.