* About 5 pct of UK staff could be cut
* Stemcor sees market improving in 2nd half of 2013, 2014
* Steve Graf replaces David Faktor as head of trading
NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - UK-based Stemcor, the world’s largest independent steel-focused trading firm, will restructure various parts of its business and cut some jobs in response to weak market conditions, the company said on Tuesday.
Stemcor, which moves between 15 million and 20 million tonnes a year of steel and steel raw materials, including coal and iron ore, said it could cut about 5 percent of its UK staff, which includes 600 people.
“We can confirm that the company is embarking on a restructuring program in various parts of its business,” a spokesman for the company said in an email.
“After investigating all other alternatives, there will be some redundancies in our trading operations and group functions. Stemcor’s customers and suppliers will not be impacted.”
The measures come after some high profile changes at the privately owned firm.
At the beginning of the year, Julian Verden took over as chief executive from Ralph Oppenheimer, whose family owns the majority of Stemcor shares.
Also, Steve Graf, previously head of the firm’s U.S. business, was appointed head of international trading after the resignation of David Faktor late last year.
Although the weak economy led the firm to undertake the restructuring plan, Stemcor says its underlying business is strong and anticipates an improvement in trading conditions in the latter part of 2013 and 2014, given the expected increase in world per capita steel consumption. (Reporting by Silvia Antoniol. Editing by Andre Grenon)