ArcelorMittal cuts down on Canadian operations

April 9th, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

ArcelorMittal Toronto/Brussels, April 9 (IANS) The world’s biggest steel maker ArcelorMittal SA, which has cut production by 45 percent and is axing 9,000 employees due to slump in demand for steel, said Wednesday it is also scaling back its Canadian operations.
The company, which has already shut down some plants in Europe, said it is closing its Controeur mill near Montreal April 18 and cease its steel slab production from June 27 as demand remains sluggish because of the slump in auto, manufacturing and housing sectors.

It said the decision to shut down operations was guided by the forecast that demand will not pick up for more than six months. The shutdown will lead to loss of 198 jobs. This is in addition to 450 jobs which were lost last year when the company closed hot mill and cold mill operations at the plant.

The global meltdown has forced the steel giant to cut its steel production by 45 per cent in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

With no signs of global economic recovery, the company said Wednesday at its headquarters in Brussels it would not raise output till demand remains low and stocks last.

However, shutdowns are temporary and appropriate decisions will be taken after reviewing the market situation periodically, the steel company assured its employees.

After a meeting in Luxembourg with its European Works Council, the company said: “In light of the ongoing exceptional economic environment, it is necessary to continue to suspend and optimize production to ensure the company is well adapted to the market reality.

“All production suspensions are temporary and will be reviewed on a regular basis. The company will maintain all equipment during the suspension period to ensure that production can be re-started as swiftly as possible when market conditions improve.”

ArcelorMittal, which accounted for 10 percent of the world’s total steel output and raked in revenue of $124.9 million in 2008, employees about 320,000 workers in its plants in 60 countries. Planning to lay off 9,000 employees, the steel giant says it is offering them incentives for voluntary retirement.

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