Metso versus Weir Q1

Staff reporter

European mineral processing equipment manufacturers Weir Group and Metso have both reported lower March quarter order intake levels compared with Q1 in 2023, with Finland’s Metso also disclosing a 9% year-on-year drop in sales to €1.217 billion.

Weir, in a trading update, indicated original equipment orders were down “against a strong prior year comparative, but at historically high levels on an annualised basis”.

“Current trends in original equipment continue to be dominated by high levels of activity in small brownfield projects to drive optimisation and tackle sustainability challenges on existing mines,” the company said.

A 4% yoy improvement in minerals aftermarket orders and 5% yoy lift in ESCO parts orders meant Weir’s overall intake for Q1 was flat compared with the same time in 2023.

Metso said while its aftermarket sales rose 6% yoy in Q1 this year, service orders dipped 5% and overall orders fell 8% to €1.361 billion.

“Quarterly sales declined in both segments due to lower equipment order backlogs going into the year,” CEO Pekka Vauramo said.

“However, sales of minerals services increased 8% year-on-year, which had a positive impact on the sales mix and services accounted for 68% of the minerals segment sales.”

Vauramo described customer decision-making in the minerals equipment business as “slow”.

“Metso expects that the market activity in both minerals and aggregates will remain at the current level,” he said.

Weir CEO Jon Stanton said aftermarket demand was driven by growth in mining production and conversion from “our growing installed base”.

“Year-on-year growth reflects the impact of price increases and volume growth in hard rock mining, partially offset by mine closures in Panama and Australia,” the company said.

“In OE, demand was primarily driven by debottlenecking, brownfield expansion and sustainability projects at existing mines.

“This included a £7m HPGR order in an Australian gold mine as well as three large mill circuit pump wins in the Central African copper belt, a result of our strategic geographic expansion initiatives combined with our market leading products.

“While there is a clear thrust in certain commodities to try and accelerate new project approvals, this remains as upside when they move ahead.”

Weir said commodity prices were mixed in Q1, “but were very positive in the case of our largest exposures including copper and gold, remaining well above miners’ cost to produce, and stimulating demand to accelerate production from existing assets”.

London Stock Exchange-listed Weir has a current market value around ₤5.2 billion, or €6.09 billion; Metso, listed on the Helsinki exchange, is valued at about €8.95 billion.


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