Bekaert forcasts a flat 2018 as Latin America weakness and costs impact

Belgian steel wire maker Bekaert has forecasted no increase in profit in 2018 after a slightly lower than expected profit decline in 2017, with a difficult business climate in Latin America and higher wire rod costs set to cap margins.

The company, whose steel wire reinforces nearly a third of the world's automotive tyres, forecast strength in most regions, except Latin America, and good demand for its wire in automotive, mining and construction markets, with a rising oil price improving prospects in the oil and gas sector.

However, it said that the factors limiting its margins in the second half of 2017 would do the same in the first half of 2018. These include the difficult economic climate in Latin America, volatile wire rod prices, low demand for loose abrasive sawing wire and a possible impact from U.S. trade policy.

"That is why we are confident we will improve our profitability progressively during the year to achieve the same profitability level of 2017," the company said.

Source: Wire World