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Yorkshire steel group holds firm

Yorkshire steel firm Severfield Rowen has said it is coping with market challenges but is continuing to make a loss.

With a strong balance sheet, the group, based in Thirsk, recently reorganised the Severfield-Watson Structures business in the UK.

This necessitated savings, and has led to a positive outlook for the group.

Severfield-Rowen is a structural steel construction company. It is the largest structural steelwork group in the UK.

A spokesman said: “The Group has successfully achieved the anticipated savings and made good progress with the associated operational improvement programme.”

“The group is making encouraging progress with its operational improvements, supported by a strong balance sheet, and is maintaining its market position.

“Management is confident that the Group is progressing in line with its expectations and will be well placed to benefit from any recovery in the UK construction market.”

The iron and steel manufacturing industry has faced adverse conditions over the past five years.

The industry’s fortunes depend heavily on demand from construction and automotive sectors. Demand from these industries contracted when the economic downturn took hold in 2008-09.

Steel prices subsequently plunged in 2009-10, as demand dried up in the wake of the financial crisis.

Annual growth has been flat and is expected to be so until at least the end of next year.

The UK order book of £178m is slightly lower than that previously reported, but it remains at a level that management is comfortable with, given the current state of the UK market, the capacity reductions being implemented within the business, and the group’s more selective approach to securing work.

There are early signs that the market may be marginally improving into 2014.

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