ALMATY, July 31 ArcelorMittal's
subsidiary in Kazakhstan cut crude steel output by 18 percent
year-on-year in the first half of 2012, the company said on
ArcelorMittal Temirtau, which operates the Central Asian
nation's only steel mill, said it produced 1.58 million tonnes
of crude steel in January-June 2012, down from 1.94 million
tonnes in the same year-ago period.
The company's rolled steel production stood at 1.43 million
tonnes in the first half of 2012, or 12 percent below the same
year-ago period. Pig iron output fell by 15 percent to 1.39
million tonnes in the same comparison.
Half-year output at ArcelorMittal's Kazakh unit was hit in
May by a fire in its sinter plant that feeds the blast furnaces,
and by the unstable work of a number of other workshops, the
company said in a statement.
"We are preparing to work in complicated market conditions
in the second half of the year," the company quoted its Chief
Executive Vijay Mahadevan as saying in a Russian-language
"We are facing the tasks of raising the stability and
efficiency of the main production lines, as well as cutting
energy consumption and improving the quality of our end product.
This would allow us to increase the company's competitiveness in
the current market conditions."
This month ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel
producer, won a respite in a months-long labour dispute with its
workers in Kazakhstan, agreeing a temporary pay deal, but will
still have to return to the table in October.
ArcelorMittal Temirtau faced a sudden shock to demand this
year when Western financial sanctions on Iran closed the door to
a market that accounted for a considerable portion of the mill's
sales last year.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Alison Birrane)