BRUSSELS—Bekaert S.A. is set to significantly outperform expectations in the first half of the year, supported by a strong volume rebound to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Based on "preliminary and unaudited" financial statements, Bekaert expects to post a 30-percent increase in sales to $2.7 billion for the first half of 2021.
The Belgian group expects underlying EBIT for the first six months to come in at $336 million, tripling the 2020 levels.
"We project good demand in most markets in the second half of the year," the Bekaert trading update said.
However, "the usual seasonality effects," supply chain interruptions and other challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to pose a risk.
For the second half of the year, Bekaert said it projected a much lower inventory valuation impact, as raw material prices are anticipated to stabilize.
The underlying EBIT, therefore, is projected to be lower than the first half and on a par with the second half last year, it added.
The Belgian group will publish its full first half results on July 30.
During the first quarter of the year, Bekaert posted record-high revenue, helped by strong demand from the tire markets.
Overall first-quarter consolidated sales were up 19 percent at $1.3 billion, with the rubber reinforcement segment contributing more than 44 percent to total sales.
At $586 million, the rubber unit's first-quarter sales were up 23 percent compared to last year, driven by a strong automotive market.