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Turning up the heat for return to profit
9:48am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in Business News
TEESSIDE steel is once more in demand across the globe as buyers
flock to an industrial icon that sparked back to life last year.
Since it restarted in April 2012, 3.7 million tonnes of steel have rolled off the casting table at SSI UK in Redcar and been shipped to the firms processing plant in Thailand and to a client in Turkey.
Steel bosses told The Northern Echo they have also held talks with potential customers from the US, Europe, South America and Asia who are interested in taking delivery of one of the regions most famous exports.
Over the summer, the plant smashed 20 production records and began to overcome a series of setbacks - including a serious cashflow problem - that helped to rebuild its international reputation.
Plant bosses have been buoyed by the strong output figures as well as signs that global steel prices are creeping up after a spell in the doldrums.
The switch-on of a £37m pulverised coal injection plant (PCI) has cut materials costs and SSI anticipate the business will make its first profit before the end of the year.
"Weve had the whole world here over the last few weeks knocking the door down," said Phil Dryden, SSI UK chief, who has being hosting
a series of plant visits.
"When we started-up lots of people looked at us as someone who had come back from the dead and they waited to see if we could get back on our feet and start walking.
"Now we have proven to the world that this place does everything that you want it to. As a result we are getting more enquiries every month."
SSI expects to set new records in the weeks ahead and plans are in place to buy a new caster which will enable it to turn out even more steel.
It has not been plain sailing, however. Mr Dryden admitted the PCI facility, due to come on line at the end of May, is only now working as expected following a series of technical problems that tested the patience of SSIs Thai owners.
Mr Dryden added: "We expect to make profit by the end of the year and commission the new caster over the next 18 months to two years.
"If we need a fourth caster I know where we would put it. If we need to increase the iron make we can do that too.
"After a period when weve been living day to day we are now in a position to look longer term."
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