ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, plans to save $1 billion on an annualised basis by the end of 2012 by optimising its assets due to weak demand in Europe.
The Luxembourg-based company would close or temporary idle some its high operating cost blast furnaces, most likely in Europe, while operating some of its low- operating costs core steel production facilities at 100-per cent capacity.
Due to weak steel demand in Europe, ArcelorMittal had already announced last month that it would idle two blast furnaces, one each in Germany and France as well as one electric arc furnace and two rolling mills in Luxembourg.
The move comes after the steelmaker yesterday permanently closed its liquid phase steel production plant in the eastern Belgium city of Liège. (See: ArcelorMittal to permanently shut Liège steel plant in Belgium)
ArcelorMittal citied structural over-capacity in Northern Europe amid a difficult European market, as the reason for the closure. One of the furnaces has been idled since 2008, the other since August and a foundry was also closed down.
Late last month, the steelmaker announced that during the fourth quarter it would temporarily idle an electric arc furnace and some steel production lines at its long carbon steel producing mill in Madrid, Spain.