BRUSSELS—Bekaert S.A. has reported strong sales and earnings in the first half of 2021, helped by a volume rebound to pre-COVID-19 levels, an increase in raw material prices and "an overall stronger business portfolio."
Group earnings (EBITDA) were up 97 percent at $438 million during the first six months of the year, on 33 percent higher sales of $2.7 billion, Bekaert reported recently.
Bekaert linked the sharp rise in earnings mainly to an increase in raw material prices, which induced an upward inventory valuation effect of $56.6 million.
Furthermore, volumes recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels, contributing another $76.5 million to overall earnings.
Price-mix improvements and structural improvements also contributed to the increased profits.
Bekaert's rubber reinforcement segment reported a 103 percent rise in earnings to $189 million, on 43 percent higher sales of $1.2 billion during the first six months of the year.
The growth, said Bekaert, was mainly due to the strong global demand from tire markets.
According to the company, demand in China and Indonesia started to tail off in June, as tire exports decreased due to container shortage and fiscal policy reforms.
This, however, was partly compensated by a demand rebound in North America and surging demand in India and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
Demand from OEM automotive markets also rebounded, although it has not reached the pre-COVID levels due to the global chip shortage.
Overall, Bekaert said demand for the rubber reinforcement segment is expected to remain solid in most markets in the second half of 2021.
"But we do take into account some seasonality impact as well as softening business conditions for China and Indonesia," it said.