"As anticipated, we continued to face tough market conditions in the third quarter, characterised by low steel prices coupled with high raw material costs," CEO Lakshmi Mittal was quoted as saying in a statement (Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images).


STEEL giant ArcelorMittal said Thursday (7) lower prices and rising costs of raw materials pushed up losses in the third quarter.

The world’s biggest steelmaker reported a net loss of $539 million (€587m) for the three-month period ending September 30, after a loss of $447m in the second quarter.

“As anticipated, we continued to face tough market conditions in the third quarter, characterised by low steel prices coupled with high raw material costs,” chief executive officer Lakshmi Mittal was quoted as saying in a statement.

“In these markets, we remain focused on our own initiatives to improve performance and our priority is to reduce costs, adapt production and focus on ensuring the business remains cash-flow positive.

He said the group expects a “substantial working capital release” in the fourth quarter which should enable it to further reduce net debt year on year.

The Luxembourg-based multinational maintained its forecast for a rise in global steel consumption this year, although in a range of between 0.5 and one per cent.

But the outlook for Europe and the US was revised downwards as the wider industry endures job cutbacks on fierce competition as well as the effects of US tariffs imposed last year.

Revenues for the third quarter totalled $19.6 billion, down 10.2 per cent year-on-year, and down 13.7 per cent from the previous quarter, the group said.

On Wednesday (6), Italy’s prime minister said ArcelorMittal had pulled out of an agreement to buy struggling Italian firm Ilva because of production concerns, warning the company wants to cut 5,000 jobs at one of its plants.

The group retreated from its plan to buy the steel producer, blaming a decision by Rome to not grant it immunity from prosecution over the heavily polluting Taranto plant.

(AFP)