Italy’s Liberty Magona to increase capacity by more than 20%

Liberty Magona, the Italian producer of galvanized and pre-painted flat-rolled coil products, expects to achieve a capacity increase of more than 20% in 2022, a Liberty Steel Group spokesperson said Feb 1.

“A number of challenges (the pandemic, Greensill situation and HRC supply disruptions) impacted Liberty Magona’s ability to operate at full capacity in 2020 and 2021, even though its market and demand from customers was strong,” the spokesman told S&P Global Platts in an email. “We look forward to the business delivering on its strategy this year and so far the La Magona is on track to do so.”

The plant’s significant expansion is expected to come from the addition of new capacity for painting production and a new range of galvanized and pre-painted products, the company said in an earlier statement on Feb. 1.

Sources closed to the mill confirmed that Liberty was investing in La Magona and most of the lines had increased their production, with the pre-painted line moving to 21 shifts from 15 from February, including the hiring of a further 10 workers.

“Liberty is trying to take advantage of the strong steel market and is trying to show that it is still a credible player after all its financial problems,” a source close to the mill told Platts. The company had a cash squeeze after the collapse of principal financer Greensill Capital in March 2021.

According to a source familiar with the company, the La Magona pickling line, which has a design capacity of 870,000 mt/year, is now producing 700,000 mt. The organic coated line, which has a design capacity of 100,000 mt/year and was idled in 2009, was also now producing at full capacity.

The company now has two coated lines and produced 150,000 mt of pre-painted coils in 2021.

La Magona has two galvanized lines that are working at 320,000 mt and has a rolling line that run at 600,000 mt against the 750,000 mt/year installed capacity.

The company buys coils on the open market, mainly from ArcelorMittal’s Fos site in France, and from Liberty Galati in Romania.

— Annalisa Villa