GFG says HRC supply issue to Liberty Europe mills resolved

UK-based industrial group GFG Alliance said late March 11 that it had resolved a temporary supply issue of hot-rolled coil to subsidiary Liberty Steel’s plants in Belgium and Italy. The statement follows reports that production at some Liberty works may have been reduced amid a cash squeeze after GFG financier Greensill Capital (UK) Ltd. entered administration March 8, deterring raw material suppliers.

“We can confirm a temporary issue with one of our HRC suppliers to LIBERTY Liege-Dudelange and LIBERTY Magona has been successfully concluded using our normal commercial dispute procedures,” a Liberty Steel Group spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The two works are known to be supplied with HRC mainly by ArcelorMittal, which did not comment on the issue when approached by S&P Global Platts.

Liberty Magona is described as the Italian market leader for flat galvanized and pre-painted products. Liege-Dudelange produces galvanized steel and packaging products.

A German buyer expressed anxiety March 11 about contracts with Liberty Poland although this works was continuing to dispatch products.

GFG Alliance took over the lease for Huta Czestochowa, or Liberty Poland, one of Poland’s largest steel mills, in January this year. It restarted production at the formerly troubled mill, which is rolling plates from feedstock supplied by Liberty Ostrava in the Czech Republic.

A German plate supplier said it had been approached by various UK customers asking for supply as it was thought Liberty might have difficulty in meeting supply commitments.

GFG Alliance said March 10 that that some of its UK businesses will be operating intermittently.

The situation has heightened nervousness about potential further disruptions to steel supplies in Europe, where prices for products including HRC are at multi-year highs following recent product tightness in some areas.

— Diana Kinch, Annalisa Villa and Amanda Flint