Hungary’s flat steel producer Dunaferr restarts hot strip mill

Hungary’s sole flat steel producer, Dunaferr, has restarted hot strip mill that was idled since December 2022, according to UK-registered Liberty Steel which operates the Dunaferr plant and distributes its output in compliance with the agreement the two signed in February.

The steelworks will start providing its customers premium rolled products later in March, Liberty Steel said to S&P Global Commodity Insights in an email March 20.

“We have signed an operational and commercial agreement with the Dunaferr plant in February to help stabilize its operations,” a spokesperson for Liberty Steel told S&P Global but declined to specify for how long the arrangement will remain in effect.

The restart of hot strip mill follows the February resumption of 660,000 mt/year blast furnace no 2, the basic oxygen converter shop and cold rolling operations, S&P Global reported earlier.

Last month, Liberty also secured a deal with the Hungarian state allowing it to draw a credit line in state-owned EXIM Hungary in order to restart and stabilize operations at Dunaferr, S&P Global reported.

A municipal court in Dunaujvaros ordered the liquidation of Dunaferr, with the steelworks, including its two blast furnaces with a 1.2 million mt/year combined capacity, previously idled since the third quarter 2022, S&P Global reported earlier.

In February, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the government would pay the wages of Dunaferr’s workers for the next six months, during which, it would expect to find a new owner for the plant.

Platts, part of S&P Global, assessed domestic hot-rolled coil prices in Northwest Europe at Eur850/mt ex-works Ruhr March 17, and those in south Europe at Eur820/mt ex-works Italy, both stable on the day.

— Ekaterina Bouckley