Celsa building longs mill to boost France/Benelux presence

Celsa Group, the largest Spanish steel group and the second largest European producer of steel long products, has started construction of a rolling mill in its French plant, the company stated Monday.

The investment will be around Eur 60 million and will give Celsa France the capacity to better penetrate the French and Benelux markets. The company estimates the rolling mill will start in about 20 months.

“This operation will position Celsa France as the largest steel complex in southern France and will be an element of great strategic value for the Group’s growth,” said Francesc Rubiralta, Celsa Group president.

Celsa France, located in the Bayonne region, is one of the major companies in the French Basque Country, representing 45% of Bayonne’s port traffic. The company has an electrical arc furnace specializing in the production of steel billets from scrap.

According to the S&P Global Platts archive, the rolling mill installation was a project started in 2007 but not realized due to the global economic crisis. According to the archive, the rolling mill could produce 500,000 mt/year of finished products. Celsa, when asked by Platts, did not comment on the line’s capacity and which long products would be produced.

Celsa France employs about 200 people directly and 1,200 indirectly. The steel group estimates that, as a result of the project, around 140 new jobs will be generated directly and about 420 indirectly. The project is part of the company’s strategic Plan 2016-2022, the main aim of which is the consolidation of its longs market leadership.

Steel output for the EU’s steel-using sectors is forecast to grow by 1.5% in 2019 and by 1.7% in 2020, according to a Eurofer economic report published last Thursday.

Eurofer believes EU steel market fundamentals will remain moderately positive, although the rise of protectionism could have a negative impact on confidence, investment and exports.

Production in the EU steel-using sectors lost momentum in Q3 2018, particularly in the automotive sector. This trend likely continued in the final quarter of 2018 and will persist into 2019 and 2020, the association noted.

— Annalisa Villa