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What is happening with the Evraz share price?

by | Last updated 26 Nov, 2022 | Materials

The Evraz Plc (LSE:EVR) share price has had a pretty rough time of late. In the last 12 months, the stock has crashed by nearly 75% following the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe.

As a reminder, the group is a UK-based manufacturing and mining company that produces and distributes steel, iron ore, and coal assets operating from the Russian Federation. In fact, it’s one of the largest steel businesses in Russian territory.

While the business itself hasn’t been directly targeted by Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, it has been indirectly affected. The most obvious example is Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch whose assets have been frozen, including his 28% stake in the business.

Investors and uncertainty don’t tend to mix well, so I’m not surprised to see Evraz shares perform so poorly in 2022. But in the long term, when the conflict comes to an eventual conclusion, is there a chance for a comeback? And if so, does that make today’s dirt-cheap valuation a buying opportunity for my portfolio?

Evraz share price performance

At a market capitalisation of £1.2bn, the stock is currently trading at a price of 81p, placing the P/E ratio at a tiny 0.58. By comparison, the FTSE-All Share index average is usually around 14.

Considering in 2021, the group delivered stellar results, the fall from grace is pretty impressive. Even more so, considering the Evraz share price was trading closer to 601.6p at the start of the year.

To make matters worse, the sharp decline in value kicked the Russian steelmaker out of the FTSE 100 index. And trading was subsequently suspended in March 2022 after the sanctions on Roman Abramovich were announced.

So far, they haven’t resumed trading. So even if I were tempted to invest, I currently can’t. But stock price aside, the group is still filing its usual regulatory reports. And recently, its interim results came out. So how is the underlying business holding up?

Financial performance

For the first half of 2022, the company reported strong revenue growth despite adverse external conditions. High coal commodity prices and impressive revenue dynamics for its Coal and North America segments led to a 31% year-on-year increase in revenue, reaching $8.1m.

Being a mining business with relatively fixed costs, this strong top-line performance translated into a solid 19% expansion of Consolidated EBITDA.

Sadly, moving further down, the income statement introduces the impact of external factors. While sales were impressive, the company suffered in terms of profitability and free cash flow. Reported net earnings have collapsed from $1,212m to $6m – a 99.5% crash. Meanwhile, free cash flow tumbled back into the red by $59m.

These negative figures obviously don’t bode well for the Evraz share price whenever it might resume trading. But it’s not exactly surprising considering the current macroeconomic backdrop and the rise in corporate governance and operating challenges.

In particular, the collapse of currency exchange rates led to a $1.79bn impairment charge followed by a $157m deferred income tax bill that flushed profits down the drain.

As disastrous as this is, I do feel it’s worth commending management for maintaining top performance. Navigating its current environment is unquestionably challenging. Even more so, given the lacklustre performance of its steel segment courtesy of ongoing Chinese Covid-19 restrictions driving demand down.

All things considered, the financial performance of Evraz is pretty dire, but considering the circumstances, it’s as good as one could have hoped for. At least, that’s what I think.

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What does the future hold for Evraz stock?

The suspension of Evraz shares on the London Stock Exchange obviously creates an enormous level of uncertainty. The ongoing geopolitical situation and the regulatory pressures are pushing for Russian companies to delist from the UK stock exchange. Depending on what happens, this may be entirely out of management’s control.

Moreover, the name Evraz will likely continue to be repellant for investors for many months, considering the mess it’s currently stuck in.

Some investors will undoubtedly consider the Evraz share price as a bargain. And given the relatively strong operational performance, it’s this thesis isn’t entirely untrue. Nevertheless, I’m not interested in exposing my portfolio to the uncertainty risk that comes attached with Evraz once it resumes trading.

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Saima Naveed does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Money Cog has no position in any of the companies mentioned. Views expressed on the companies and assets mentioned in this article are those of the writer and, therefore, may differ from the opinions of analysts in The Money Cog Premium services.

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