ArcelorMittal to slash European output by 50 percent

The world biggest steel maker ArcelorMittal announced that it would continue to suspend production in Europe, cutting output by 50 percent. The company, hit hard by the global crisis, says suspensions are temporary.


AFP - ArcelorMittal steel announced on Wednesday that it would continue to suspend production in Europe, and a union official said this meant the group would slash the output by more than half.

ArcelorMittal, by far the world's biggest steel maker, said after a meeting here with European union officials that "it is necessary to continue to suspend and optimise production" in the face of the global economic crisis.

CGT union official Jacques Laplanche told AFP that staff had been told at the meeting that European production would be cut by more than half from the end of April.

"Because of the crisis, ArcelorMittal wants to reduce costs and is going to concentrate production on certain sites," Laplanche said.

Furnaces at Liege in Belgium and at Florange in eastern France would be totally halted, he said.

"It is a catastrophe, particularly as management does not say when production will be resumed," Laplanche said.

The company said in a statement: "All production suspensions are temporary and will be reviewed on a regular basis."

Bernard Fontana, an ArcelorMittal executive vice president, said "the steel industry, like many global companies, is suffering the very real repercussions of the global economic slowdown."

"We have moved swiftly to to adapt ourselves to the new economic reality but despite the good progress made, market conditions remain harsh."

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