Ascoval to cut production on high energy costs

Saarstahl Ascoval in Saint-Saulve, the French subsidiary of SHS/Saarstahl Group, plans to halve its output starting next month due to increasing energy costs, union sources confirm to Kallanish.

The mill will turn off its electric arc furnaces for a few days per week over the next three months. This adds to the list of French long and flat steel producers, including Ascometal and ArcelorMittal, cutting output significantly to save on energy bills and balance demand and supply (see Kallanish passim). The French steel market is going through a period of low demand and falling prices for both flats and longs, in line with the current international downturn.

Last year, Saarstahl completed the takeover of Liberty Steel’s Ascoval and the Hayange rail unit. It renamed the Hayange and Saint-Saulve steel plants to Saarstahl Rail and Saarstahl Ascoval respectively.

The German group is investing €7 million ($6.7m) this year into Ascoval to reduce the site’s carbon footprint and boost efficiency. The group’s long-term goal is to produce top-quality carbon-neutral steel at the Saint-Saulve site.

The SHS/Saarstahl Group employs approximately 1,500 people in France.

The firm did not respond to request for comment before press deadline.

Natalia Capra France