Liberty Galati reduces production as Covid-19 slows economy

Liberty Galati has reduced production and implemented partial technical unemployment following slowing global economic activity on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, the firm’s spokesman tells Kallanish.

This comes after the firm implemented various measures to try maintain normal operating conditions, such as replacing contractors with its own employees and reducing costs. The company is working with unions and authorities to minimise the social impact associated with the move.

“The purpose of the measure is both to protect the interests of employees and ensure the long-term sustainability of the steel plant’s operations,” the spokesman says. “We look forward to returning to normal working conditions as soon as possible.”

He did not respond to a request for comment on the rate of the production cut or if all production units were affected equally.

Liberty Steel said in February it plans a $1 billion ten-year investment programme at Galati that includes major upgrades to its casters, rolling mills and coating lines, which will enhance the unit’s product offering (see Kallanish passim). Also planned is the installation of an electric arc furnace to reduce emissions and the steelworks’ dependency on imported natural resources.

The works also recently carried out the machining of two roughing stands at its hot strip mill, which it said should lead to cost savings in terms of reduced spare parts consumption and downtime.

Liberty Galati has a 3 million tonnes/year crude steel production capacity, selling to the construction, marine, oil, gas and wind energy sectors. Production in 2019 was foreseen at 2.1mt versus 1.7mt in 2018. The planned investments will see production surpass 4m t/y over time.