AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group recorded a modest increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) at its Critical Materials division for the first quarter of 2019, helped by strong performances in vanadium, chrome and antimony.

The division generated Ebitda of $31.2 million, up 1% compared with the first quarter of 2018, the Amsterdam-listed group said on Wednesday May 1.

“AMG Critical Materials generated Ebitda of $31.2 million during the first quarter of 2019, due to strong financial performance in vanadium, chrome and antimony,” AMG’s ceo and chairman of the management board, Dr Heinz Schimmelbusch, said in a statement.

The effect was partially offset by factors such as weaker performances in materials including graphite and silicon, he added.

First-quarter revenue at the division rose by 10% to $228.6 million, also driven by improved average prices for vanadium and chrome during the quarter, the company said.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for ferro-vanadium traded between $52.50-57.50 and $76.40-79.50 per kg in the first quarter of 2019, as demand cooled on the way back down from a record high of $126-128 per kg in November 2018, which was prompted by supply concerns.

This compares with a trading range between $46.50-49.50 and $70.60-73.00 per kg during the first quarter of 2018.

AMG Critical Materials’ gross profit in the first quarter of 2019 decreased by 14% to $37.6 million. This was attributed to factors including a non-cash expense related to a vanadium inventory adjustment and ramp-up costs associated with lithium in Brazil, but higher chrome metal prices and improved antimony sales volumes partially offset this.

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