Losses deepened at ArcelorMittal during the 2nd quarter as demand for steel slumped due to coronavirus lockdowns, but the firm said on Thursday, July 30, there are tentative signs of recovery.
During the April-June period, the firm suffered a loss of $559 million, worse than the $447-million loss during the same quarter last year.
Sales came in at $11 billion, a drop of 43% from the 2nd quarter of last year and a 24% drop from the 1st quarter of this year.
“The first 6 months of the year, and particularly the 2nd quarter, have been one of the most difficult periods in the history of the company, with demand for steel considerably disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said in a statement.
But the 2nd quarter may mark the bottom.
“There are now signs of activity picking up, especially in regions where lockdowns have ended, but clearly it is prudent to remain cautious about the outlook,” said Mittal.
“The remainder of the year will no doubt continue to be challenging but I believe we are well prepared to increase production and capture the improvement in demand when it comes,” he added.
Mittal said the firm would also look at making structural changes to the business to improve performance, which finance chief Aditya Mittal said during a conference could be finding a way to maintain output while reducing the number of blast furnaces being operated.
Proposals are likely to be detailed when the company announces 2020 annual results next year.
The firm confirmed its goal to reduce debt to $7 billion. At $7.8 billion at the end of June, debt is at its lowest level since the group was created.
The firm’s shares were 0.5% lower in midday trading in Amsterdam, where the AEX index was down 1.6%. – Rappler.com