“In the first quarter of 2022, Outokumpu performed well despite the uncertainty caused by Russia’s aggressive invasion and war in Ukraine. We have decided to stop all business operations related to Russia as soon as possible. My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people in this human tragedy. Outokumpu’s Annual General Meeting approved the suggestion by our Board of Directors to donate up to EUR 1 million to support relief efforts in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
So far, the impact of the war on Outokumpu has been limited. Our mills have been running at full capacity and our adjusted EBITDA reached EUR 377 million. Deliveries increased by 10%, as we were successful in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in production and logistics. We diligently continued to de-risk, and we were able to reduce our net debt to EUR 294 million.
All business areas delivered solid first-quarter results. We have continued to build a strong position in the Americas, supporting the geographic diversification of our earnings. In Europe, our performance in the first quarter was also solid. We have strong expertise in value added grades, and I am pleased to see the improving demand in our pro grade business. The Ferrochrome and Long Products business areas recorded excellent earnings in the first quarter.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty brought about by the tense geopolitical situation, the tailwind in the market remained and realized prices for stainless steel continued to strengthen in the first quarter. However, imports from Asia into Europe increased to a significant level of 35%, creating uncertainty going forward.
While there were significant price increases in raw materials, energy, and logistics, we were able to manage our costs successfully. Going forward, we will keep a continuous focus on consumables consumption to ease inflationary pressure.
We made disciplined progress in our strategy execution and have now reached a cumulative EBITDA run-rate improvement of EUR 237 million, very close to reaching our EUR 250 million target.
Sustainability is a key factor in running a successful stainless steel business. We continued to take steps on our sustainability journey towards carbon neutrality by increasing the share of low-carbon electricity in our energy mix and improving energy efficiency from the already good level of last year.
I am proud that we have been able to continue with our safety improvement despite high-capacity utilization. Our quarterly total recordable injury frequency rate decreased to 1.7, which is an excellent result. I want to thank our employees for improving on what was already a great result!
I am very pleased that after many challenging years we are back on track with paying dividends. The dividend of EUR 0.15 per share, approved by the AGM, was paid in April 2022.”
Updated on May 5, 2022.