October 26, 2011 / 5:25 PM / 6 years ago

Italy's Riva Group to cut steel production

2 Min Read

* Steel market conditions worsened - Riva Group

* European steelmakers cut production

By Alessandra Prentice

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Riva Group, Italy's biggest steelmaker, will close a coil production line indefinitely at its Ilva plant in Taranto, Italy, due to flagging European steel demand, the family-owned company said on Wednesday.

"There will be a halt at the coil rolling line number 1 in Taranto in the next few days but there will not be any compulsory redundancies," said Alberto Cattaneo, a spokesman for the steelmaker. "This is due to worsening market conditions."

Until now Riva Group, the third largest European steelmaker, had been working at about 75 percent of its total capacity, a similar level to 2010, when it produced about 14 million tonnes of steel.

High volumes of steel came out of Europe in the first half of the year, but weaker demand, low prices and destocking have hit sales, leading Riva Group and other European producers to cut capacity.

The world's top steel producer, ArcelorMittal , closed a blast furnace at one of its Polish plants last week, the latest in a series of cutbacks to the steel giant's European operations.

Earlier this month Riva Group's CEO said that he did not see steel prices rising in the near future given the fragile economic outlook.

"It is certainly a difficult situation that will last for some time," Fabio Riva told Reuters.

Additional reporting By Silvia Antonioli; editing by Keiron Henderson

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