ArcelorMittal Widens Steel Production Cuts in Europe to Manage ‘Weak’ Demand

ArcelorMittal (MT, MT.AS), the world’s biggest steel and mining group, said early Wednesday that it was widening planned production cuts to France and Germany, blaming a “weak” demand environment amid “high” levels of import in Europe.

The company will now also reduce primary steelmaking production at its facilities in Dunkirk, France and Eisenhuttenstadt in Germany as part of a decision to take additional steps to “adjust” European production levels and further align output with demand, according to a statement.

The group, which has a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 19 nations, will also cut primary steelmaking production at Bremen in Germany in the fourth quarter, where a planned blast furnace stoppage for repair works will be extended.

Furthermore, the firm said it has decided to extend the stoppage planned in the fourth quarter to repair a blast furnace at its plant in Asturias, Spain.

The latest move follows an earlier decision to temporarily idle production at steelmaking facilities in Krakow, Poland, and reduce output in Asturias, Spain. It said the announcement on May 6 also hit the planned increase of shipments at ArcelorMittal Italia to a six million tonne annual run-rate, which will now be slowed to optimize cost and quality over volume.

“This is again a hard decision for us to have taken but given the level of weakness in the market, we feel it is the prudent course of action,” Geert van Poelvoorde, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal Europe — Flat Products, said in the statement. “This will be a temporary measure that will be reversed when market conditions improve.”

In 2018, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $76.0 billion and crude steel production of 92.5 million metric tonnes, while own iron ore production reached 58.5 million metric tonnes.