Steel prices set to rise further, specialist warns

Steel Fabrication Basingstoke

Steel prices will continue to climb in 2021 according to structural steel specialist Billington.

The company said the price volatility and scale of increases in 2020 had been unprecedented. The cost of iron ore, used to make steel, and scrap steel almost doubled last year, pushing up the price of steel products, the firm claimed. Billington chief executive Mark Smith warned the trends seen in 2020 are set to continue. “The market remains very competitive and continued price escalation and the availability of some raw materials remains a concern,” he said.

Steel has been one of a raft of materials that has been hit by shortages and price rises over the past year. Last week saw cement and aggregates added to a list of products in short supply drawn up by a CLC taskforce.

The warning came as Billington revealed a 37 per cent drop in its revenue in 2020. Turnover for the year to 31 December 2020 was £66m compared to £104.9m in 2019. It blamed the fall on projects being cancelled and delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with activity levels being reduced. It added that 2019 had seen a number of major schemes completed, pushing up the prior year revenue number.

Billington remained profitable and reported a pre-tax profit of £1.7m for the year, down from £5.9m in 2019.

The company’s order book for structural steel work ended 2020 at 75 per cent higher than 12 months prior, although it did not disclose the value. The company said it had not been able to secure any new work in Europe since the UK left the EU on 1 January, despite it chasing opportunities. It added that it had identified enough new work in the UK to ensure it has enough volume for its factories.


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