ArcelorMittal writes down Europe business by about $4.3 billion

BRUSSELS Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:48am EST

General view of the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Liege September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule

General view of the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Liege September 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Laurent Dubrule

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS), the world's biggest steelmaker, will write down the value of its European business by about $4.3 billion as the economic problems on the continent have dampened demand.

Europe's steel industry is struggling with long-term excess production capacity, while the economic downturn has hit demand, and ArcelorMittal has closed blast furnaces in France and Belgium.

ArcelorMittal said on Friday apparent steel demand has fallen by about 8 percent in Europe this year, bringing the cumulative demand decline to about 29 percent since 2007.

ArcelorMittal said it will take the impairment in the goodwill of its European operations, following a yearly test of the value of its goodwill.

It said the writedown will be a non-cash charge that will be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012. It said the impairment would not affect net debt or core profit.

According to StarMine, analysts had been forecasting on average that ArcelorMittal would make $529.5 million in net profit this year, and $7.1 billion in core profit.

(Reporting By Ben Deighton; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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