Refractory product supplier RHI Magnesita said revenues in its steel division were flat in the first quarter, with growth in North America and Asia offsetting weaker deliveries in Europe and South America. A 'slower start' to the quarter had resulted in some build-up in inventories within the group overall, though they were expected to unwind as the year progressed. The company said that it remained confident of its overall expectations for the full year, after a 'solid' trading performance across all of its divisions in the first quarter. 'Some uncertainties exist in the macroeconomic outlook and customer end markets, and management remains vigilant, particularly in terms of plant volumes and production costs,' the company said. The industrial division performed 'strongly' in the first quarter, continuing the momentum of the second half of 2018. 'Whilst there has been some easing in magnesium based raw materials prices in the early part of 2019, alumina based raw material cost keep increasing,' the company said. 'Overall the raw material pricing outlook remains broadly stable.' 'The group has announced a 5% price increase across the product portfolio. However, given lead times this will have a limited impact in 2019.' RHI Magnesita said it continued to achieve its integration plans and was on track to realise synergy targets of at least €90m in 2019 and €110m by 2020. 'Whilst macroeconomic uncertainties remain at an unusually high level, RHI Magnesita expects to continue to realise the benefits from its integrated model and its growth and cost savings initiatives.' 'Consequently, the board's expectations for full year 2019 operating results remain unchanged.'
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