Sims Metal Management (SGM) – Scraping Sims

Sims Metal Management (SGM) collects, sorts and processes scrap metal materials that are recycled for resale.

The company’s divisions include ferrous recycling, non-ferrous recycling, secondary processing of non-ferrous metals and plastics, international trading of metal commodities and the merchandising of semi-fabricated steel products.

SGM has operations in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, North America, Asia and Europe and is the world’s largest listed metal recycler with approximately 270 facilities and 6,600 employees globally.

The company is currently in a global search for a new CEO after current CEO Daniel Dienst announced he would retire when his contract concludes on June 30 2013.

1H13 Results

The group’s 1H13 results were disappointing to say the least. Revenue came in at $3.4 billion, a 25% decline on the prior corresponding half, due to a reduction of intake shipments in North America.

SGM reported a 1H13 net loss of $295.5 million, 53.3% better than the prior corresponding period’s $633.2 million loss. The result was attributed to goodwill impairments and inventory writedowns totalling $291.3 million.

On an underlying basis, the group did record a $10 million profit, although the rest was down from $42 million a year earlier. Given the poor result, management decided not to declare a dividend for the first half – the first time the company has not paid an interim dividend since listing.

US and UK Businesses

On 21 January 2013, SGM announced that it will form a special committee to investigate the inventory valuation issues in the company’s UK business.

The result of the committee’s investigation was a $78 million write-down of inventory, of which $16 million was allocated to 1H13 and the remaining balance resulted to a restatement of prior period results.

The write-down represents a massive 29% of the value of inventories in its UK business. That trouble does not stop in the UK.

SGM’s US division, which contributes around 60% f the group’s overall sales, also suffered impairment charges in the first half. The company recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $291 million in the 1H13.

Excluding the write-downs, the US business barely made a profit, reporting an underling EBIT of $2.1 million–a 30% drop from the prior corresponding period.

Looking ahead

The outlook does not look pretty for SGM, at least in the short-term. The $78 million writedown on its UK inventory is extremely alarming because it shows the company’s lack of adequate financial controls in relation to its inventory reporting.

It also brings into question the company’s financial controls in other regions and raises the possibility of further write-downs. Poor management has led to the decision not to distribute a dividend for the first time since it listed, which does not bode well for shareholder confidence.

Moreover, the group downgraded its guidance three times in 2012. Without a significant pickup in US economic activity, we cannot see this year being any different. As such, we feel there is more downside to SGM’s share price in the near-term.

Seek Limited was issued as a share to buy to our members on March 22nd, if you would like further information you can sign up for FREE share recommendations and access all our research files on not only SGM but all our current trading ideas. Simply click here and starting trading today, free for 7 days.