Steelmaker ArcelorMittal posts $3.4bn loss in 2012

Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal
Image: ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal, the integrated steel and mining company in Europe, has reported a $3.7bn net loss for the financial year 2012 because of poor demand for steel in European markets.

The steel-maker, which is headed by Lakshmi Mittal also posted a $4bn net loss for the fourth quarter of 2012.

“2012 was a very difficult year for the steel industry, particularly in Europe where demand for steel fell a further 8.8%,” said Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal.

Its steel shipments were down by 2.3% in 2012 and 2.7% in the fourth quarter of the year.

The company also blamed the write-down on its several European for the losses. The write-downs amounted to $5bn.

In 2012, ArcelorMittal also took a number of important steps to address the challenges we face, including concentrating our operational footprint on our more competitive assets and reducing net debt. 

The company’s net debt decreased by $1.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $21.8bn as of December 31, 2012. This was despite $0.2bn negative foreign exchange effects due to improved cash flow.

In 2011, it was a very different story when ArcelorMittal posted a net profit of $2.3bn.

But the company is optimistic that the steel shipments could increase in 2013 by approximately 2 to 3% as compared to 2012.

“Although we expect the challenges to continue in 2013, largely due to the fragility of the European economy, we have recently seen some more positive indicators, which combined with the measures we have implemented to strengthen the business, are expected to support an improvement in the profitability of our steel business this year,” Mittal said.

“Marketable iron ore shipments are also expected to increase by approximately 20% as a result of the expansion at ArcelorMittal Mines Canada,” he added.

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The ArcelorMittal Board of Directors proposed a $0.20/share dividend in 2013 (much lower than the $0.75/share in 2012) to be paid in July 2013.

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