Russia's Evraz CFO says 2015 EBITDA margin to stay below 20 percent

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Evraz EVRE.L, one of the country's largest steel producers, will keep its EBITDA margin below 20 percent in 2015, the company's chief financial officer said on Monday.

The steelmaker, part-controlled by Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich, has been hit by lower steel prices and its shares have fallen 62 percent since mid-May.

Chief Financial Officer Pavel Tatyanin told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit that market forecasts for 2015 earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $1.5-1.6 billion were “reasonable”.

Asked if that meant the EBITDA margin would be below 20 percent, he said it would.

Evraz posted EBITDA of $922 million in the first half of 2015 and an EBITDA margin of 18.8 percent. Net debt totaled $5.7 billion in the same period.

Tatyanin said the company’s priority was reducing its net debt and it would not be paying out special dividends or carrying out new buy backs in the near future.

“Every half year our aim is to demonstrate a decline in net debt,” he said. “In the long-term, we should have a net debt/EBITDA ratio below 2.”

Evraz’s net debt to EBITDA ratio was 2.6 at the end of June.

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Writing by Polina Devitt and Jack Stubbs, editing by David Evans