Steel maker ArcelorMittal today said it will close a coke plant and six production lines at its Liege facility in Belgium, due to further weaking in demand in Europe.
The world's largest steelmaker said in a statement, "ArcelorMittal Liege today with regret informed the local works council of its intention to permanently close a number of additional assets due to a further weakening of the European economy and the resultant low demand for its products," .
On 14th October 2011, ArcelorMittal announced its intention to permanently idle the liquid phase due to structural over-capacity in Northern Europe. It was then expected that Liege would focus on its downstream activities, operating five core lines and seven flexible lines, in the future.
However, since October 2011 the economic outlook further deteriorated and demand for steel in Europe dropped by a further 8 - 9 per ent in 2012 and is now 29 per cent below pre-crisis levels, the company said in a statement.
It said, "A number of key customers in the automotive sector have announced major restructuring projects at their plants. As a result there is insufficient demand to support the running of these flexible facilities and no improvement is seen over the medium term."
Despite the closure of the blast furnaces, the Liege facility reported an EBIT loss of more than €200million for the 9 first months of 2012 and no improvement is foreseen in 2013 due to the continued weakness of the European market. This is unsustainable on an on-going basis.