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ArcelorMittal SA heads for huge loss; to shed 1,000 jobs


Johannesburg: ArcelorrMittal South Africa (AMSA), the South African subsidiary of global steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, has said it would report a R4 billion (about $2,8m) headline loss for the year ended December 2019, with plans to shed 1,000 jobs finalised as part of its cost-cutting measures.

AMSA's huge loss follows on a profit of R1,37b (about $951m) in 2018.

AMSA had announced plans for a large-scale reorganisation of its plants across the country six months ago, The company had said in November 2019 that it would close down its loss-making Saldanha Works due to various factors, including a global downturn in the steel market and a reduction of the plant's export edge due to high costs of electricity, rail transport and price regulation.

Despite government pleas to reconsider the huge impact this would have on the South African economy, AMSA has announced that the Saldanha Works closure would be finalised in the first quarter of 2020.

AMSA, however, said any closure of significant long-steel production plants was not on the cards in the foreseeable future, including the Newcastle plant which too had been under threat.

Born out of the former state-owned steel manufacturer Iscor in 1989 after Mittal had helped turn around its ailing fortunes, AMSA said in statement here that 2019 had been a very challenging year for the company.

AMSA said it would be placing an emphasis on cash preservation as it aimed at long-term preservation.

"A large-scale employee reorganisation, as announced on SENS on July 10 last year, has been largely finalised and resulted in a reduction of over a thousand own employees. Additionally, a significant repricing and rescoping of sub-contractor services will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2020," it said.

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