NEW YORK ArcelorMittal SA
recorded its third consecutive net loss in the first quarter on
the back of challenging economic conditions but anticipates
positive signs in the second half of the year, particularly in
its Americas division.
steelmakers first-quarter net loss totaled $345 million,
a marked improvement from the $3.8-billion loss recorded in the
previous quarter but a far cry from the $92-million profit
logged in the first quarter of 2012. Global sales were largely
flat at nearly $19.8 billion vs. $19.3 billion in the fourth
quarter and $19.7 billion in the year-ago period.
For its Flat Carbon Americas
segment, which includes ArcelorMittal USA LLC, ArcelorMittal
Dofasco Inc., ArcelorMittal Brazil and ArcelorMittal Lazaro
Cardenas, the group recorded $4.9 billion in sales in the
quarter, up 4 percent from the $4.7 billion recorded the
previous quarter but down 8 percent from the $5.3 billion
logged in the same quarter a year ago.
The company said that the
groups sequential increase in sales was due primarily to
higher steel selling prices in South America and Mexico.
Average steel selling prices for the Americas segment in the
quarter was $819 per tonne, up from fourth-quarter prices of
$797 per tonne but down from first-quarter 2012 prices of $886
Shipments for its Flat Carbon
Americas division were up just slightly quarter over quarter to
5.6 million tonnes as higher shipment volumes in North America
due to improving automotive demand were mostly offset by lower
exports of slab and hot-rolled coils from South America (
amm.com, May 10).
Looking ahead, the
steelmakers outlook is optimistic. The company forecast
an approximate 3-percent increase in global apparent steel
consumption for 2013, including a 2- to 3-percent increase for
the U.S. market.
"In the U.S., the economic
picture remains positive," Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and chief
executive officer, said May 10 during the companys
earnings call. "Because of the weaker start to the year and the
impact of sequester, we have trimmed our steel demand growth
forecast by 1 percent, but still expect improvement throughout
Asked about imports and the lack
of trade cases being filed, Louis Schorsch, chief executive
officer of ArcelorMittal USAs Flat Carbon Americas unit,
said that ineffective policy has caused a delay when it comes
to trade action.
"In the U.S. context, you need
to show injury, and thats typically a backward-looking
perspective. Frequently, there are lags involved. Thats
one of the complaints," he said.
ArcelorMittal, which is said to
be a frontrunner in the bidding for ThyssenKrupp AGs
plant in Calvert, Ala., noted that the U.S. sheet market will
likely see little impact either way once the winning bidder is
"Obviously, the current owners
are extremely capable. The assets are a very good one, yet
its extremely difficult to make that business model work.
Were in the process now, but were not going to
overpay. If someone else gets it, I think well just cope
with it like how weve coped with it under TKs
ownership," Schorsch said.