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ArcelorMittal suffers US$3.99b loss
ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s largest steelmaker, which operates the largest non-oil industrial complex in T&T at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate in Pt Lisas, Couva, posted a near US$4 billion loss for the fourth quarter, hurt by its ailing European business and a drop in the value of its assets.
The company announced yesterday its net loss widened to US$3.99 billion (2.94 billion euro) from US$1 billion in the same period a year ago. Sales fell 14 per cent to US$19.3 billion, as both prices and volumes declined year on year.
The loss included US$4.8 billion in charges and writedowns related to its European business, notably the idling of plants in Madrid and Florange, France, and the decision to close a plant in Liege, Belgium, where 1,300 jobs are threatened. The company has clashed with governments and labour unions over the facilities and remains cautious about its European business this year despite improvements elsewhere.
“Although we expect the challenges to continue in 2013, largely due to the fragility of the European economy, we have recently seen some more positive indicators,” said the company’s founder and chief executive, Indian industrialist Lakshmi Mittal. That, together with cost-cutting measures “are expected to support an improvement in the profitability of our steel business this year,” he said.
He forecast that steel shipments would grow by two to three per cent in 2013 and operating profit — which was US$7.1 billion for the full year 2012, a 30 per cent fall from 2011 — would show at least some unspecified amount of growth in 2013. Investors appeared encouraged by the relatively upbeat forecast and the company’s shares rose 1.05 per cent to 12.56 euro.
Since the global financial crisis that began in 2007, worldwide finished steel consumption has risen 16 per cent, with China accounting for the bulk of the growth. In North America, consumption fell dramatically around the time of the financial crisis in late 2008, but quickly recovered and is now only about eight per cent lower than in 2007 and on an upward slope.
ArcelorMittal Point Lisas is the largest steelmaker in the Caribbean. More than 90 per cent of its output is exported—to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Canada, the US and the Far East.
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