November 12, 2019 / 3:03 PM / a month ago

ArcelorMittal to halt Polish plant on Nov. 23

WARSAW (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal Poland will temporarily halt its blast furnace and steel plant in Krakow, southern Poland, on Nov. 23, due to a weakening outlook for the market, the company said on Tuesday.

ArcelorMittal, which is Poland’s biggest steel producer, announced in May that it would close operations at its Polish plant in September due to rising carbon emission costs, surging power prices and decreasing demand.

It then decided to postpone the stoppage and took extra measures at its three blast furnaces in Poland to adjust to lower demand.

“Our three blast furnaces are now working at their technological minimum so we cannot reduce production volumes any further. As the situation on the steel market continues to deteriorate and the outlook remains gloomy, we regrettably have no choice but to temporarily idle the blast furnace in Krakow,” ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Geert Verbeeck said in a statement.

The company, which employs more than 11,000 people in Poland, said, citing EUROFER data, that steel demand in Europe is expected to fall by 3.1% this year.

It reiterated that it intends to restart the operations in Krakow when “market conditions improve adequately to justify a restart leading to economically viable operations”.

The steel maker said that a majority of its employees will be offered jobs at ArcelorMittal other plants in Poland.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Louise Heavens

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