ArcelorMittal is steeling itself against flooding of cheaper imports, from China in particular, that is eating into its profitability. The world’s largest steelmaker, led by NRI billionaire Lakshmi N Mittal, has registered a net profit of USD 1 billion for the quarter to March 2017, but at the same time seen a rise in net debt to USD 12.1 billion during the period. “Given that there continues to be overcapacity in the global steel industry, particularly in China, it is important that there is a comprehensive trade response in place to minimise the impact of unfair trade across all product categories,” the company has said in its latest report. It has categorically stated that while import has declined in product categories where duties have been imposed, it has gone up or remained constant in cases where no decision has been taken yet.
“So, despite recovering domestic demand in our core markets, our cost-competitive and well-invested assets are not consistently earning their cost of capital due to this persistent pressure from unfairly-priced imports,” it said. ArcelorMittal “will continue to work with our trade associations to launch actions against unfair trade”.
In the US, the steelmaker said, there are anti-dumping (AD) and anti-subsidy (AS) duties in place on all four flat product categories: core, CRC, HRC and plate. These measures are in place for five years. The company also said anti-circumvention investigations have been initiated by the Department of Commerce in China (through Vietnam) with an expected decision in September 2017. It is expecting an early decision on national security investigation with respect to steel imports in the US.
On April 20, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced initiation of a national security investigation with respect to steel import. In Europe, there are “final AD duties on CRC against China and Russia and final duties on HRC against China”. The European Commission has decided not to impose provisional measures on import of HRC from five additional countries — Brazil, Iran, Ukraine, Russia and Serbia.
The steel giant said, “We will continue to work towards final measures which could be implemented by third quarter of 2017. The AS investigation for HRC import from China is ongoing and in December 2016, a new AD investigation was initiated on import of corrosion resistant steel from China.”
The Luxembourg-based firm had reported a higher net debt of USD 12.1 billion, which it attributed to “seasonal working capital investment of USD 2.2 billion” as against USD 11.1 billion as on December 31, 2016.
In 2016, ArcelorMittal racked up revenues of USD 56.8 billion and crude steel production of 90.8 million tonnes. Its own iron ore output hit 55.2 mt.
The company is listed on stock exchanges of New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Luxembourg and on Spanish bourses of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia.