ArcelorMittal yesterday agreed to put on hold its plan to cut jobs and shut plants across Europe until June after the Industrial Commissioner of the 27-nation European Union assured it of a bailout plan for its French and Belgian operations by summer.
The European Commission yesterday said that the breakthrough came after Industrial Commissioner Antonio Tajani held a meeting with ArcelorMittal's chairman Lakshmi Mittal and requested him to put all restructuring plans in Europe on hold as the body plans to bring out a bailout plan by June to help keep two blast furnaces operating, though at a reduced capacity.
Blaming a slump in demand and overcapacity in Europe, the Luxemburg-based steelmaker has been shutting blast furnaces and cutting jobs across Europe, but mainly in France, Spain, Poland and Belgium.
In December 2012, ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel maker, had to write down the value of its European business by about $4.3 billion.
Earlier this month it reported a massive net loss of $3.72 billion for 2012 as the eurozone debt crisis continued to ravage the region, with steel manufacturers bearing the brunt of it.
The European steel industry employs around 360,000 people at about 500 plants, even as steel demand has slumped by 30 per cent since 2007, while global production declined from 22 per cent to 12 per cent between 2001 and 2011.