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Staalbedrijven slaan alarm

15,028 -0,272 -1,78 % Euronext Amsterdam
21,20 0,34 1,63 % Euronext Brussel
ThyssenKrupp AG
13,31 1,20 9,91 % Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse (Xetra)

(ABM FN-Dow Jones) De Europese staalsector heeft alarm geslagen. Dit blijkt uit een document dat brancheorganisatie Eurofer donderdag publiceerde.

"Stijgende importvolumes, een stagnerende economische groei, hoge en volatiele prijzen voor grondstoffen en scherp stijgende kosten voor CO2[-uitstoot] vormen een perfecte storm die de Europese staalsector weer in een hevige crisis kan doen terugvallen", schreef de belangenbehartiger.

Volgens Eurofer is de impact nu al zichtbaar, met staalbedrijven die bijvoorbeeld hun productie terugschroeven.

Zo meldde ArcelorMittal begin deze maand dat het de plaatstaalproductie in het Poolse Krakow en het Spaanse Asturias tijdelijk stil legt vanwege een zwakkere vraag, concurrentie van goedkoop importstaal en hogere kosten voor energie en CO2-uitstoot.

Met de sluiting kiest het staalconcern naar eigen zeggen voor "kosten en kwaliteit boven volume". De staalproductie daalt hierdoor op jaarbasis met ongeveer 3 miljoen ton.

Analist Rochus Brauneiser van Kepler Cheuvreux noemde het tegen ABM Financial News gepast dat marktleider ArcelorMittal het voortouw neemt om vraag en aanbod weer meer in evenwicht te brengen door de productie te verlagen.

Of de productieverlaging met 3 miljoen ton op jaarbasis genoeg is, is afwachten, maar het is "geen kleine hoeveelheid", volgens de analist.

Na een groei van de staalvraag in 2018 van 3,3 procent, denkt Eurofer dat de vraag dit jaar met 0,4 procent zal dalen. Dat gaat gepaard met snel stijgende importen, aldus de brancheorganisatie.

De import steeg in 2018 al met 12 procent, terwijl 2017 al gold als een recordjaar voor wat betreft de import van staal. En vermoedelijk zal de import dit jaar ook nog verder stijgen.

Door: ABM Financial News.
Redactie: +31(0)20 26 28 999

© Copyright ABM Financial News B.V. All rights reserved.
British Steel update on future of Scunthorpe works as unions warn of 'devastating blow to workers and families'

Grimsby Live reported that British Steel has confirmed it is holding "constructive discussions" as it looks for funding to help secure its future. The company, reported to be close to collapse, blamed uncertainty over Brexit for current problems but insisted it was trying to "navigate through" the issues.

The company statement came after reports that the future of steel manufacturing in Scunthorpe was at risk along with thousands of jobs as the company faced a critical shortage of cash.

The reports, leaked to Sky News, said discussions had been held with senior government officials over loans to keep the company buoyant for the coming months.

Steelworkers and unions expressed their shock at the unexpected development after several years of stability at the Scunthorpe plant.

In its statement, British Steel said that "As we have previously commented, the uncertainties around Brexit are posing challenges for all businesses including British Steel, and we are holding constructive discussions with our stakeholders on how to navigate them. Last month the company agreed a short-term bridge facility with government to help it meet its EU emissions obligations, and discussions are continuing about a package of additional support to assist the company address broader Brexit-related issues, whilst continuing with its investment plans."

Scunthorpe's Labour MP Nic Dakin said that "Everybody has rolled their sleeves up to do the right thing and I am trying urgently to speak to ministers to get some confidence into the system but at the moment, they will be as busy as we are. It is important we have a considered response and the worst thing we can do is behave as though things are worse than they are. This is clearly worrying and it is a challenge but the workforce and management have faced many challenges very well.”

Source : Grimsby Telegraph
Indian Steel companies ask govt to put safeguard tariffs on Chinese Steel - Report

Reuters reported that The US-Chinese tariff conflict, which recently escalated, has unnerved Indian steel producers. They fear that China could dump excess steel on India in the hope of making up for losses incurred by their metal industry, which has been hit by Washington’s efforts to offset its trade deficit with Beijing. The Indian steel industry has asked the country’s government to protect it from growing Chinese imports and to introduce 25% safeguard duties on metals allegedly being dumped on India at prices below the production cost.

Reuters reports that during a meeting last month JSW, the Steel Authority of India, Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and Power, which control the country’s steel production, had asked government officials for protection amid the US-Chinese tariff row.

According to the news agency, Steel Secretary Mr Binoy Kumar indicated that global surplus capacity poses a risk to the country’s industry and expressed the opinion that India needs protection from predatory imports. However, he also revealed that the decision regarding safeguard duties is yet to be made. Reuters was not given comments from the Steel Ministry and the involved companies.

However, the agency cited a government source as voicing concern at the possible impact of the trade conflict between Beijing and Washington, saying that this sector in India, which is rated to be the world’s second-largest steel producer, is vulnerable.

The Source indicated that “China has excess (steel) capacity and there is a concern they could re-route it through other countries like Vietnam and Cambodia into India.”

Reuters also points out that New Delhi fears that Beijing could re-route the flow of electronic items, toys, furniture, and organic chemicals to other Asian countries.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have been tense since US President Donald Trump last June decided to impose 25% tariffs on USD 50 billion worth of Chinese goods in a bid to fix the US-Chinese trade deficit. Since then, the sides have exchanged several rounds of trade duties. During this time, bilateral trade talks to end the dispute have been ongoing.

Source : Reuters
thyssenkrupp publishes half year report 2018-19

Following the planned steel joint venture not going ahead and the announcement of a fundamental strategic realignment of the Group, thyssenkrupp AG published its interim report for the 1st half of 2018/2019. The following information regarding the half-year report relates to the Group as a whole, ie including the steel activities reported as "discontinued" in the report. The report as "continuing operations" will only be made with the 9-month financial statements. Only then the previously suspended scheduled depreciation on the steel business at Group level will be reflected, which will have a negative impact on both the previous year's result and the result in the first half of 2018/2019.

The resulting effects on the annual targets for the current fiscal year have already been taken into account in the forecast adjusted on May 10, 2019. In addition to the economic slowdown, especially in the automotive sector, this forecast takes into account all effects resulting from the reintegration of the Steel business and the expected expenses for the implementation of the strategic realignment in the current fiscal year.

Overview of key figures for the 1st half of 2018/2019

Sales increased by 2% to EUR 20.4 billion.
In terms of sales, all businesses except Materials Services and Steel Europe contributed to the increase in the 1st half. The main growth driver was the elevator business in the USA and Europe.

Order intake improved by 4% to EUR 20.5 billion.
Elevator Technology again achieved record orders of EUR 4.1 billion resulting from several major projects. Plant construction was able to book orders primarily in chemical plant construction and mining, while Components Technology recorded growth primarily in industrial components. The Marine business was slightly below the prior-year level, Materials Services at the prior-year level and Steel Europe above the prior-year level.

Adjusted EBIT fell from EUR 943 million to EUR 685 million.
The economic downturn had a particularly negative impact on the operating results of Components Technology. Earnings at Elevator Technology were lower than previous year due to higher material costs. Industrial Solutions recorded lower margins on projects that are currently being implemented. Marine Systems remained stable at break-even, while Materials Services was unable to maintain its prior-year earnings level, mainly due to declining prices. In the steel sector, the historic low tide of the river Rhine, lower demand from the automotive industry and the new collective agreement had a negative impact on earnings.

Net income for the period amounted to EUR 59 million (previous year EUR 343 million).
In addition to the operating performance, an increase in the provision formed at the end of the last financial year for risks from cartel proceedings to the amount of the expected fine of slightly more than EUR 100 million had an impact there. After deduction of minority interests, net income amounted to EUR 36 million (previous year EUR 320 million); earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.06 (previous year EUR 0.51).

Free cash flow before M&A was clearly negative at EUR -2.5 billion (previous year EUR -1.4 billion).
The main reason for the cash outflow was a seasonal increase in net working capital in the 1st quarter, particularly at Materials Services and Steel Europe. In the 2nd quarter, thyssenkrupp generated a positive cash inflow of EUR 23 million, significantly higher than the previous quarter (EUR-2.5 billion).

Forecast financial year 2018/2019
The Group anticipates an adjusted EBIT of EUR 1.1 to 1.2 billion. The comparable prior-year figure was EUR1.4 billion.
Free cash flow before M&A is expected to remain overall at a negative high level 3-digit million euro range (previous year: -134 million €). This will reflect the effects of the economic slowdown, the impact on net working capital of the materials businesses and the increased net working capital in the components businesses due to the ramp-up of the new plants. The development will also depend on the order intake and payment profiles of individual major projects at Marine Systems. An additional burden could result from the payment of the expected cartel fine.

thyssenkrupp expects the net income to be negative. This includes restructuring expenses for future performance improvements, the provision for the near-term, final and mutually agreed conclusion of the cartel proceedings for heavy plate with the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) as well as expenses for the preparation of the IPO of the elevator business.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Trump Tradw War - Trump credits tariffs for rebuilding US steel industry

President Trump in an early morning tweet on Tuesday credited tariffs for rebuilding the US steel industry. Mr Trump Tweeted that “In one year Tariffs have rebuilt our Steel Industry it is booming! We placed a 25% Tariff on ‘dumped’ steel from China & other countries, and we now have a big and growing industry. We had to save Steel for our defense and auto industries, both of which are coming back strong!”

More than 12,700 jobs have been created or saved at steel and aluminum factories since the president implemented his tariff strategy last year, according to The Washington Post.

US consumers and businesses, however, are paying more than USD 900,000 a year for every job saved or created by Trump’s steel tariffs, according to calculations obtained by the Post from the Peterson Institute for International Economics. That is reportedly more than 13 times the typical salary of a steelworker, according to the Labor Department.

Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and USD 250 billion on imports from China in 2018.

Tensions between the Trump administration and China escalated last week after Chinese officials reportedly backtracked on a previous deal.

Source : The Hill
Essar Steel case - NCLAT raps Ruias

Financial Express reported that National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Tuesday had some harsh words for the erstwhile promoters of Essar Steel the Ruias who last week challenged ArcelorMittal’s eligibility to bid for their bankrupt firm, alleging that LN Mittal had links with loan defaulting firms of his brothers. A two member bench led by chairman SJ Mukhopadhyay asked the petitioner, Essar Steel Asia Holdings, why it has chosen to intervene at this stage.

The bench asked ESAHL that “You have been present throughout the proceedings. Why were you waiting to intervene at this stage?. We are now being deviated to see endless proceedings… We are not in a position to dispose of a matter because thousands of people are intervening… Where were you roaming in the last few months? Why didn’t you challenge after the committee of creditors (CoC) and the adjudicating authority approved the plan?” the bench asked ESAHL’s counsel Harish Rawat.

However, the appellate tribunal agreed to hear their plea for a short duration on Wednesday.

After the Ahmedabad bench of the NCLT approved ArcelorMittal’s INR 42,000 crore bid for Essar Steel, the latter’s promoters had moved the NCLAT but were asked to first pay up the dues of their entire group as per an earlier Supreme Court order. “We may consider (your appeal), if you pay the dues as per the Supreme Court order. Think over it. Think over INR 80,000 crore money, we will make room for you,” the two-member bench headed by Justice SJ Mukhopadhyay, had then said. The promoters of Essar Steel did not pursue the matter further at that point of time.

However, on May 7, ESAHL, which holds 72% shares of Essar Steel moved the appellate tribunal seeking rejection of ArcelorMittal’s bid, alleging that its promoter Lakshmi Mittal hid his association with loan defaulting firms run by his brothers, that made his firm ineligible to participate in insolvency proceedings.

The charge has been strongly rebutted by ArcelorMittal, which has termed the allegation as a delaying tactic by Essar promoters.

ESAHL’s allegation is that Lakshmi Mittal was a promoter of GPI Textiles, Balasore Alloys and Gontermann Piepers firms run by his brothers Pramod and Vinod Mittal that had been classified as non-performing assets or bad loans by banks.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code rules had previously compelled Lakshmi Mittal to shell out an extra INR 7,000 crore to clear bank dues of Uttam Galva Steels and KSS Petron where he held some stake and reportedly sold his holdings in one of them for INR 1 a share.

Source : Financial Express
SFIO opposes bail plea of Ex CEO of Bhushan Steel

Indian Express reported that Serious Fraud Investigation Office opposed in the Delhi High Court the interim bail plea of former chief financial officer of Bhushan Steel, Mr Nittin Johri, saying he is one of the “prime perpetrators and master mind” of the entire fraudulent arrangement of manipulations through the Letter of Credit by filing false documents with various banks.

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office also said that the “economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail”. The agency was responding to Johri’s plea for three weeks interim bail on account of his mother “terminal illness”.

Justice Mukta Gupta had SFIO to verify the medical records of Johri’s mother and file their status report. She, however, recused herself from hearing the matter, citing personal reason.

However, the SFIO, in status report filed through advocates Harsh Ahuja and Kushal Kumar, stated that “the economic offence having deep rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds, needs to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya, central government standing counsel Monika Arora and Anurag Ahluwalia, submitted before the court that, since the time of start of investigation, Johri has appeared before the Inspectors several times, but, he has not been forthcoming and has been evasive on most of the issues and has repeatedly misleaded the investigation.

On the medical condition of his mother (79), the SFIO said in their status report that “…she is admitted with complaints of breathlessness. She is terminally ill patient and presently admitted for palliative care management” at Super Speciality Hospital in Saket.

The report said that Johri, who is judicial custody since May 8, as the “ex-CFO and whole time director and a member of the committee of board of directors on borrowing, investment and loans, is one of the prime perpetrators and the master mind of the entire fraudulent arrangement of manipulations through LCs by filing false documents with various banks”.

It said that Johri “in connivance with Neeraj Singal and Brij Bhushan Singal (former promoters of Bhushan Steel), availed credit facilities for BSL from various banks, using the instrument of Lcs, on the basis of manipulated and false documents”. “A large number of LCs, amounting to more than INR 20,000 crores were opened on behalf of BSL over a period of time starting from F.Y 2014-15, purportedly showing Hindustan Zinc Ltd and JSW Steel Ltd as beneficiaries of LCs.”

The SFIO said in their staus report that “Investigation, however, revealed that the said LCs were discounted/ invoked by BSL itself by using false documents/bills, thereof which, the proceeds/ money, which should have been credited into the account of beneficiaries, were actually credited in the bank accounts of BSL itself.”

Source : Indian Express
Tata Steel IJmuiden unveils storage facility

The official opening of the new, ultra-modern storage facility for steel coils took place on Wednesday 8 May. Air-curtains to prevent heat loss, automated loading bays and energy-recovering cranes are just some of the innovations housed in Tata Steel’s new steel coil storage facility in IJmuiden, the Netherlands, designed to be the most sustainable yet. The so-called LA Hall enables the steel company to optimise logistics processes and further improve deliveries to customers while at the same time being energy neutral. The new 10,000 metre² facility has a capacity of 50,000 tonnes of steel coils and is strategically located, close to the company’s galvanising lines, where the steel is coated with a layer of zinc as protection against corrosion.

In the new storage warehouse , the very latest technologies have been applied in the field of security and computer technology. The fully automatically controlled LA Hall is twice as large as the other storage facilities on the Tata Steel site in IJmuiden. The building is energy neutral and has been designed in such a way that the residual heat from the cooling water from the nearby hot strip mill is used to heat it. The cranes in the warehouse are equipped with a system which stores the energy generated when a load is lowered, which can then be used to lift the load. The warehouse is also well insulated.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Primetals Technologies receives first SRD segment slab caster order from Angang Iron & Steel

Chinese steel producer Angang Iron & Steel Group Co has placed an order with Primetals Technologies to modernize a continuous slab caster at its Anshan plant. The modernized caster will replace the existing CCM 1 in its steel works No. 1. The objectives of the project are to improve the slab quality for use in the subsequent plate mill and to increase maximum slab thickness from 300 to 360 millimeters. Furthermore, flexibility will be improved by installing SRD segments in the horizontal strand guide, which marks the first application of SRD (Single-Roll DynaGap) segments in a caster in China. The modernization is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2019. The “Connect & Cast” principle, based on preconfigured and pretested packages forms the basis for a fast plant start-up.

Angang is part of the Anshan Iron & Steel Group Co., one of China's leading steel producers with an annual production of more than 35.7 million metric tons (2017), and is located in Anshan in Liaoning Province. Steel works no. 1 in Anshan employs a conversion route with a basic oxygen converter, ladle furnace and RH plant. The single-strand continuous slab caster CCM1 in steel works no. 1, originally installed in 1999, has a production capacity of one million metric tons per annum. Its machine radius is 10.6 meters and the metallurgical length amounts to 34.7 meters. The caster produces slabs with a thickness of 250, 300 and 360 millimeters in a width range of 1,500 to 2,000 millimeters. Casting speeds vary from 0.4 to 1,5 meters per minute. The plant processes medium carbon to high carbon steels, micro-alloyed, low-alloyed, alloyed and high-alloyed steels as well as pipe and plate grades.

The caster will be equipped with LevCon mold level control. The straight cassette-type Smart Mold is equipped with the Mold Expert breakout detection system, DynaWidth for automatic width adjustment, and the DynaFlex mold oscillator. Smart Bender and Smart Segments as well as I-Star rollers are used in the strand-guiding system. The modernization project also includes the detail engineering of the tundish, tundish car, mold, oscillator, bender, segments and alignment stands, the supply of incorporated parts for the strand guide system as well as the complete supply of SRD hard reduction segments.

Precise knowledge of the final solidification point and the associated soft reduction is needed to reliably produce slabs for steel grades that require high internal quality. The new SRD segments from Primetals Technologies can be applied to the final solidification precisely. This enables each individual roll gap to be adjusted dynamically as a function of the steel grade, overheating, cooling or casting speed. Each roll transmits an individual force, which makes even higher thickness reduction rates possible, and reduces the segregation and porosity in the center of the strand. SRD segments are designed for long operating cycles and easy maintenance. For example, each roll has its own overload protection, which prevents damage to the bearings and surfaces of the rolls. The rolls are embedded in a function unit so that they can be quickly replaced either in a maintenance workshop or directly on the caster during a break in production. The individual roll units can also be tested and calibrated before installation in the segments.

The Dynacs 3D secondary cooling system dynamically calculates and controls the temperature profile along the entire strand. This enables the working points of the strand cooling, and thus the final strand solidification, to be determined precisely as a function of the casting speed, slab format and steel grade. DynaGap Soft Reduction is used to improve the interior quality of the slabs. The roll gap is dynamically adjusted during the final solidification in accordance with the operating points calculated by Dynacs 3D. This minimizes segregation in the center of the strand. The secondary cooling uses DynaJet spray cooling with a center/margin setting.

Furthermore, a number of expert system will be implemented. These include Nozzle Expert to check the condition of the secondary cooling system online and to detect clogged nozzles and leakages with high accuracy, Quality Expert for online tracking, control and supervision of quality related data and quality prediction for the cast products, contributing to the continuous improvement of the product quality, Speed Expert for the cyclic calculation of optimum casting speed in any casting situation considering the influencing factors like superheat and heat pacing, the Yield Expert cut length optimization system, which considers scrap portions, quality defects, weight restrictions and width changes in order to minimize the scrap and optimize the yield and Equipment Expert to monitor the installed caster equipment e.g. mold plates and gives the operator valuable information about preventive maintenance. Advisory services of erection, start-up and commissioning round of the scope of Primetals Technologies.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Pipe work for the Midia Gas Project in the Black Sea awarded to Corinth Pipeworks

Corinth Pipeworks was selected to manufacture and supply 8” steel pipes for the infield line and 16”steel pipes for the offshore gas transport pipeline. The pipes will be manufactured during 2019 in CPW’s factory in Greece, and installation work will commence according to schedule in 2020. CPW’s scope of supply also includes external 3LPE anti-corrosion coating and concrete weight coating applied at the same location as pipe manufacturing in Thisvi, Greece.

The Midia Gas Development Project (MGD) comprises the Ana and Doina gas fields (estimates reserves 320 Bcf) discovered in 2007 and 1995 respectively, 120 km off the Romanain coast, in 70mtr of water.

The XV Midia shallow block is owned by a joint venture of Black Sea Oil & Gas (65%, operator), Petro Ventures Resources (20%), and Gas Plus International (15%). Black Sea Oil & Gas is a subsidiary of Carlyle International Energy Partners.

Final investment decision (FID) along with commencement of construction of the project was announced in February 2019.

The MGD project will be developed with an estimated investment of $400m. It is expected to be commissioned by early-2021 and produce one billion cubic meters of gas a year, which represents 10% of Romania’s consumption.

The field development plan for the MGD project includes drilling of five production wells, including one at Doina field and four at the Ana field, and installation of a subsea production system at the Doina field.

The subsea gas production system will be tied-back to an unmanned production platform installed at the Ana field through an 18km-long pipeline.A 121km-long gas pipeline will transport gas from the Ana platform to an onshore location. A 4.1km underground pipeline will deliver the gas transported by the pipeline to a new gas treatment plant (GTP).

The processed gas will be delivered into the NTS operated by Transgaz at the gas metering station to be found within the GTP.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Trump Trade War - Mexico deal to repeal US Steel Tariffs could be close

Reuters reported that Mexico is closing in on a deal to repeal US President Donald Trump's punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum, a senior Mexican official said that potentially moving a step nearer to the ratification of a major trade deal struck last year. Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez told Canadian broadcaster CBC after meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in Toronto that "We are, I think, close to negotiating the lifting of the tariffs. We're having very fruitful conversations on lifting the tariffs not only in the US but also here in Toronto."

Mr Adam Austen, a spokesman for Freeland, said the minister noted on Tuesday that it was unwise to predict how long a negotiation would take. He declined to comment further.

Mexico and Canada imposed tariffs on various US products last year in response to Trump's metals duties. The Mexican government says it could soon swap out some goods from its list for others to spread the pain across the U.S. economy.

Earlier, Ms Marquez said a new target list of US products had been completed, and only needed approval from other officials, including President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. That process would likely take at least two to three weeks.

Her remarks, and those of a business leader involved in efforts to lift the tariffs and secure passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, suggested there may be scope to resolve the spat before fresh tariffs are imposed.

Source : Reuters
Malakand commissioner banned steel mills told to get NOCs

Express Tribune reported that in a blow to the fledgling steel industry of the area, the local commissioner has imposed a ban on all steel mills operating in the area unless they obtain compliance certificates from the environmental protection body. Malakand Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud said that “These open furnaces are distributing cancer and other epidemic diseases in the community and the administration will not let them compromise on public’s health and safety. He announced the ban on the seven mills operating in the area.”

The commissioner added that “The environment comes first, and anyone who is interested in running run his industry should install mechanical units as suggested by the environment protection agency to filter and control emission of hazardous and nitrogenous gases, noting that approval of the EPA was must to set up and operate such plants.

He added that the industry was the key to resolving unemployment and economic impoverishment in the area, but that does not mean that environmental SOP’s are compromised. Mr Mehsud was quoted as saying that “Malakand has scenic beauty with naturally decorated areas and all necessary steps need to be taken to protect this clean and green environment.”

He added that “We are trying to shift these industries to the industrial estate which was recently inaugurated by K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.” He also imposed a condition for steel mills to first obtain No-Objection Certificates to be issued by the environmental protection agency before starting work in the area.

Source : Express Tribune
US Canada trade negotiation continuing

The Canadian Press reported that Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ms Chrystia Freeland came and went from Washington on Wednesday, shifting diplomatic gears and jetting to Havana on a day that saw early hope that the end of the Canada-US tariff dispute was close fizzle in a puff of figurative smoke. Ms Freeland had no new developments to report as she emerged in the morning from the headquarters of the United States Trade Representative. She said “She had a good meeting with Lighthizer. And we made the case, as we have been doing for some time, that the best outcome for both Canadians and Americans would be to lift those tariffs and to have free trade between our two countries.”

Ms Freeland met later with the influential Republican chair of the Senate finance committee, Chuck Grassley, who had said earlier this week that the tariffs might soon be lifted.

US Treasury Secretary Mr Steven Mnuchin, prior to Freeland’s meeting with Trump trade czar Robert Lighthizer, had said in Congress “I think we are close to an understanding with Mexico and Canada.”

Source : The Canadian Press
EUROFER - Update on steel imports into EU in Q1 of 2019

Following the near 13% rise in total imports, including semi-finished products, over the whole year 2018, the increase eased to 2% YoY over the first two months of 2019. Including SURV2 data for March 2019 finished product imports fell by 3% year-on-year over the first quarter, owing to a 5% YoY increase in flat product imports and a 24% drop in long product imports. The average monthly volume of finished products in the first quarter of 2019 amounted to 2.42 million tonnes. This implies that even though there was a slight moderation compared with the same quarter of 2018, monthly imports so far this year were 9.5% higher than in the second half of 2018 while remaining very close to the elevated level of monthly imports registered over the whole year 2018.

Imports by country of origin

Over the first three months of 2019, the main countries of origin for finished steel imports into the EU market were Turkey, Russia, South Korea, China and Ukraine. These five countries represented 67% of total finished steel imports into the EU.

Turkey retained its position as both the largest exporter of finished steel products to the EU and the country showing the strongest year-on-year rise of the ten major countries of origin of EU finished steel imports.

Imports from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus were also on a rising trend over the first quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, imports from India and Brazil were significantly lower than in the corresponding period of 2018; to a lesser extent this is also true for imports from Taiwan and South Korea. Imports from China stabilised around the level seen in the previous year.

Imports by product category

EU imports of finished steel products over the whole year 2018 were characterised by the massive increase in long products imports, at a rate of 33%, and a more moderate 7% rise in flat product imports. As a consequence, long imports accounted for 25% of total finished steel imports. Trade data for the first quarter of 2019 showed a different import pattern with a continued but slightly lower rise in flat product imports of 5% YoY and a 24% YoY reduction in long product imports. This resulted in the share of long products in total finished steel product imports being reduced to 19%.

Organic coated sheet, hot-rolled wide strip and hot-dipped galvanised sheet product imports registered the strongest year-on-year rise (by 21%, 15% and 14% respectively) over the first three months of 2019. Imports of other flat products such as cold-rolled sheet, quarto plate and tin mill products registered a moderate decline compared with the same period of 2018.

The drop in long product imports in the first quarter of 2019 resulted in monthly imports falling below the average monthly level of long product imports registered in 2018. The most pronounced reduction was seen in rebar: imports were 30% down compared with imports in the first quarter of 2018. Imports of merchant bar, wire rod and heavy sections fell by 23%, 22% and 12% YoY respectively.

With only customs data available for the first quarter of 2019 it is difficult to provide a balanced assessment of the likely trend in imports in the remainder of this year. Nevertheless, with imports remaining at elevated levels and exports on a downward trend in early 2019, the justified conclusion seems to be that there is no evidence of an easing in competitive pressures in international steel markets.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Spillage at Volta Redonda steelworks slows output - CSN

Reuters reported that Brazilian steelmaker Cia Siderurgica Nacional said that a spillage in the steelworks of its Volta Redonda plant, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, affected at least 20 employees on Wednesday and stopped production in the affected area.A spokesman for the company said the rest of the plant is still working and the affected area will resume operations later on Wednesday.

Television images showed a light gray cloud rising over the plant and neighbors reported hearing loud noises.

Source : Reuters
Hadeed SABIC announces Q1 results

Saudi Arabian Hadeed Saudi Iron & Steel Company SABIC has reported financial results for January-March 2019. In January-March 2019, the company posted an operating profit of SAR 47 million versus SAR 73.3 million a year earlier. At the same time, revenue inched down by 1.3% to SAR 3.3 billion

Tighter supply in the world’s iron ore market after disruptions at Vale’s assets boosted prices in the international market by 15% in Q1 compared to Q4 2018. Moreover, expectations of weaker pellet supply from Vale later this year forced steel producers to partially substitute pellet usage with costlier scrap, leading to an increase in production expenses.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH announces Q1 2019 results

SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH has reported 1.1% higher sales volumes of 551 kilotons compared with 545 kilotons in the first quarter of 2018. Revenue increased by 6.7% to EUR 884 million from EUR 829 million due to higher sales volumes resulting from the integration of Ascometal and higher sales prices. Adjusted EBITDA decreased by –40% to EUR 42.2 million from EUR 70.3 million in the same quarter one year ago. EBITDA of EUR 38.8 million was –62.4% lower than in the first quarter of 2018 (EUR 103.1 million). However, the previous year's result was positively influenced by the contribution of badwill of EUR 46.0 million from the acquisition of Ascometal.


Sales volume increased slightly to 551 kilotons from 545 kilotons in Q1 2018; additional volumes from Ascometal level out reduced demand

Average sales price per ton increased to EUR 1,605, from EUR 1,521 in Q1 2018 and EUR 1,597 in Q4 2018

Adjusted EBITDA of EUR 42.2 million lower than in Q1 2018 at EUR 70.3 million
Free Cash Flow at EUR –23.7 million better compared to Q1 2018 with EUR –102.7 million due to inventory reduction

Outlook for 2019: SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH expects adjusted EBITDA between EUR 190 million and EUR 230 million

CEO Clemens Iller said “As expected, the start to the 2019 financial year was restrained. After a significant decline in business activities towards the end of last year, the dip in growth in our sales markets continued in the first three months. There are no clear signs of a rapid recovery in the current low demand, particularly from the European automotive industry. In view of the latent trade conflicts and political uncertainties in Europe, it is currently difficult to estimate when new impulses will lead to a sustained improvement in the economic situation in our core market Europe. From today's perspective, we expect demand to gradually normalize in the first half of 2019, with a continued recovery in the second half of the year.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
ArcelorMittal resolution plan violative of IB Code - Mr Prashant Ruia to NCLAT

ET reported that Mr Prashant Ruia has submitted before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal that the resolution plan moved by ArcelorMittal is in violation of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code. Senior advocate Mr UK Chaudhary said that the proposal of ArcelorMittal India was in violation of IBC code as the proposal if approved negates the right of Subrogation of the Guarantor. He said "Item 18 in the adendum of the resolution plan says that Subrogation right of the guarantor would stand extinguished on the approval of the resolution plan. This is illegal and in violation of Indian Contract Act. This is also in violation of IB Code.Resolution plan should either be rejected or this clause should be deleted.”

Meanwhile, senior advocate Haren Raval, represeting Essar Steel Asia Holdings Ltd concluded his arguments. He submitted that the CoC was aware about the ineligibility of ArcelorMittal and despite that it went ahead and voted in favour of the resolution plan submitted by it.

Mr Ruia has alleged ArcelorMittal chairman and chief executive officer Mr LN Mittal has suppressed vital facts that would otherwise render him ineligible to offer a buyout plan for the distressed steel mill under Section 29A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Until 31 December 2018, Mr Mittal was a shareholder of Navoday Consultants, which in turn was a shareholder in certain companies run by his brothers Mr Pramod and Mr Vinod Mittal, which had defaulted on bank loans.

Subrogation means substitution of one person or group by another in respect of a debt. With subrogation right, a guarantor can step into the shoes of a creditor.

Source : ET
AHMSA reports results for Q1 of 2019

Mexico’s top steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico remained loss-making in Q1 of 2019. During the reviewed period, AHMSA posted an adjusted EBITDA for the steel segment of USD 19.2 million, a 76.1% decline from Q1 2018. The net sales declined by 2.6% YoY to USD 734.4 million, driven primarily by a slight market contraction. Although the average price per steel tonne increased by 5.7% under favourable market conditions, it was almost completely offset by the impact of lower sales volumes of 920,553 tonnes or -9.1%.

Besides, cost of sales increased by 8.2%, mainly due to higher raw material costs and its usage, the company said. As a result, the company’s steel segment posted an operating loss of USD 17.8 million in Q1 2019, a USD 65.6 million decrease or 137.2% YoY

Source : Strategic Research Institute
ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih saves UAH 100 million by improving quality control

ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih has increased product quality, reducing losses by UAH 100 million in October 2018 to April 2019 from a special initiative taken last year to monetize and eliminate losses from the production of defective products at all stages of metallurgical production. Head of the quality department at ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih Ms Elena Gudimova said “Since October last year, we have been measuring losses not only in tonnes of substandard products, but also in hryvnas spent on eliminating technological deviations at all intermediate production stages. For example, steelmakers have received from the blast furnace workers cast iron with low temperature, high sulfur and silicon content. In order to get steel with given properties from it, one has to use expensive additives, spend more energy, increase the melting cycle, etc. Now all these costs with deviations are calculated and losses are eliminated. Thus, the costs of production of pig iron with deviations in March are reduced by 30% in hryvnia equivalent compared with November 2018. Another example is that in the first quarter the number of non-graphic melts decreased three times, as a result of which the metal does not meet the specified properties of the buyer, is removed from the direct order and goes to the warehouse until the time of sale. The company managed to reduce non-graphic melts by optimizing the process of preparing ladles and blocks for purging with argon.”

She added “Loss analysis is carried out across the entire technological chain of metal production, including aggregates, workshops and products. Risks are also evaluated for high-quality products. Additional control is installed in the areas for receiving the final product. In addition to the control officers of the Quality Control Department, the team-mates for moving the rolled products and the stackers responsible for loading metal products were asked to identify the defects.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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