Swiss steel trader Trasteel cuts jobs as market shrinks
* EU steel demand expected to shrink again in 2013
* Steel derivatives branch seeing expansion
LONDON May 10 (Reuters) - Weak steel market conditions have pushed Trasteel, a steel and raw materials trading firm, to cut jobs and restructure the company, chairman Massimo Bolfo said this week.
Trasteel, which has offices in Dubai, Shanghai, Santiago and Luxemburg, has replaced some executives and has cut eight positions at its headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland, where 35 staff now work, to reduce costs.
Industry body Eurofer expects steel consumption to continue to shrink in 2013 in the EU, after a 4.8 percent fall last year.
"Given the lower volumes of business and expectations of a very difficult 2013 and 2014 we have decided to cut our headcount," Bolfo said in a phone interview, adding that to reduce fix costs, a few raw materials traders, who were previously full-time staffers, had been hired as external consultants.
Bolfo, who was previously the CEO of Duferco, one of the world largest steel trading and producing groups, founded Trasteel in 2009. The company grew to reach turnover of almost $1 billion in 2012 but Bolfo said it has since seen its sales volumes shrink.
Monaco-based Levmet, Trasteel's steel derivatives joint venture with industry veteran Ashley Levett, is still expanding due to increasing customer demand for hedging services.
"Nowadays the iron ore derivatives market is very liquid, and although liquidity on the steel side is not as high we have many requests of hedging services, especially from steel producers and raw materials buyers," Bolfo said. (Reporting by Silvia Antonioli; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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