Engineered wood product manufacturer Steico AG’s final 2023 results saw EBITDA dip by 34.9% to €57.7m (2022: €88.6m) due to a challenging market environment.

Steico produces wood fibre insulation boards, I-joists, LVL and fibreboard. Germany remained its top market, followed by France and the UK.

Its UK market saw a 11.3% reverse in sales during 2023 to €39.7m. The German business saw an even greater drop at -26.6% to €128.3m sales.

The three main product areas – wood fibre insulation, I-joists and LVL – saw a sales decrease of -17.1%, -22.9% and -9.5% respectively.

Production output also decreased in 2023, with the wood fibre insulation division seeing a decrease of nearly 40,000 tonnes to 272,097t. The I-joist output was down by roughly a third and LVL saw output dip to 107,454m3 from 144,430m3 in 2022.

Steico blamed the poor construction market, high level of inventories at customers in early 2023, high levels of competition and the challenging interest rate/inflation backdrop.

During 2023, a 51% interest in Steico shares was taken by the Irish Kingspan Group, with Steico founder and CEO Udo Schramek set to retire this summer after more than 38 years with the company.

Steico Group was also the victim of a cyber-attack on the night of March 1, 2023. This attack hit administrative systems, in particular at the Polish sites, the headquarters in Feldkirchen and various applications that are hosted in a computer centre. Steico replaced the IT infrastructure affected and has put additional activities in place to increase cyber security.

Despite the challenges in 2023, Steico reports that a stabilisation trend continued in the first quarter of 2024. 

With revenue of €95.9m, revenue in the first quarter was only 0.7% down on the previous year.

At the same time, earnings benefited from falling procurement prices and the effects of the cost-cutting programme launched in 2023. EBITDA rose 38.5% to €17.8m in Q1, 2024.