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ArcelorMittal shuts facilities in Belgium, 1300 to be affected

Posted on Jan 26, 12:09AM | IBNS

Steel and mining giant ArcelorMittal has decided to close a coke plant and six production lines in its Liege facility in Belgium owing to the "low demand" for its products. The move will affect around 1,300 people.

In October, 2011, the company had closed the liquid phase of the plant due to structural over-capacity in Northern Europe. It was decided that in the future Liege would focus on its downstream activities, operating five core lines and seven flexible lines.

Howeber, since October 2011, the economic outlook has further deteriorated. Demand for steel in Europe dropped by a further 8 - 9pc in 2012 and is now 29pc below pre-crisis levels. 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, a company release said.

However, the company plans to continue to operate five core lines which employ approximately 800 people. These five lines are strategic due to their dedicated high quality products, specialized processes and technological innovation.

Stating that the move to close its facilities will affect approximately 1,300 people, the company said it was committed to finding a socially acceptable solution for all those affected.

"This will include discussions on all means to reduce social impact with Trade Union representatives, including the possibility of reallocation to other sites within the Group," the release added.

"We deeply regret that the economic situation has further deteriorated to the extent that the proposal of further closures at Liege has become necessary," ArcelorMittal Liege CEO Bernard Dehut said.

"We would ask the unions to please agree to enter into a constructive dialogue with us to secure the future of the remaining facilities in Liege," he added..